50-year-olds: they’re hung up in streets, stuck in dull, damp plastic sleeves; they are taped to lampposts, to electricity substations or traffic signs, or they’re attached to trees with drawing pins.
This publication and exhibition explore the typically Dutch tradition of publicly displaying home made photo collages throughout streets and neighborhoods in celebration of a person’s 50th birthday.
Almost reminiscent of missing pet posters, amateur portrait photographs are distributed and displayed by being taped onto lamp posts and stapled to trees by friends or relatives, at the mercy of public opinion. Exposed to judgment and ridicule by friends, family and strangers, due to the usually demeaning nature of the photographs through unflattering holiday photos and the likes, individuals are exposed, raised out of anonymity and placed in the public eye.
To an extent the street becomes an exhibition space for the non art-oriented person. It’s a document of the democratisation of the public domain, through a tradition which allows artistic expression and experimentation for anyone, under the gaze of a watchful even if disengaged audience.
The presented collection of posters, possibly a study of non-intentional art under the scrutiny of the public eye, constitutes an archive and an ode to amateur, home made graphic design, made possible through the democratisation of artistic means and software such as word art, paint and clip art. A non-hierarchical demonstration of taste and aesthetic is catapulted into the streets and now gathered in the exhibition space. Perhaps involuntarily, the posters bear a sense of humour and irony to the rest of the on-looking public.