Chinese artist Wu Lewei has won a worldwide competition to design the official poster of the Montreux Jazz Festival China, which will take place in October.
The winning work, selected by a professional jury and 8,500 votes from the public, features a bridge formed by a curved staff and musical notes. It symbolizes the connection of music lovers from east to west.
The Chinese event is an offshoot of the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival which is held every summer on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The first Chinese edition was held last year in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province and a city also famous for its lake.
Specially designed posters have been part of the festival’s heritage and tradition. Since 1967 the festival has entrusted the creation of its official poster to Swiss and international artists.
Over the years, many international artists have shaped their very own visions for the festival poster design. Keith Haring produced a trio of posters in 1983, then collaborated with Andy Warhol for another in 1986. David Bowie produced a poster in 1995, and more recently Yoann Lemoine – also known as Woodkid – and Malika Favre did the same. .
The poster design competition organized for this year’s Chinese festival had the theme of the “bridge”. The organizers received 162 entries from 16 countries, including China, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, France and Nigeria.
A seven-member jury reduced the contestants to 20 and submitted their designs to a public vote.
“Notes and rhythms are bridges that connect musicians and audiences and people from different backgrounds,” said Qi. “We brought the Montreux Jazz Festival to China, which is like building a bridge from Lake Geneva to West Lake in Hangzhou.”
Winning designer Wu is a graphic designer specializing in visual communication projects.
According to Wu, the poster uses the color texture of a musical score to create a warm yellow tone. In the center, the musical notation on the “bridge” of the staff changes from treble clef to bass clef, symbolizing the full range of musical expressions.
Under the bridge, English letters repeating “Montreux Jazz Festival China 2022” form a group of people, reflecting the lively atmosphere and happy atmosphere of the event. Red and black fill the poster, reflecting purity and enthusiasm and suggesting a mix of serious Eastern music and passionate Western jazz.
Ma Yue / SHINE
“The poster conveys a feeling of warmth and peace in uncertain times, using music as a cultural bridge to bring people together in a celebration of life and love,” said Qi.
According to jury member Viviane Rychner, who is also the general secretary of the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation, the jury had no precise “expectations” about the outcome of the competition because beauty and taste in art are completely subjective.
“The winner’s poster has something universal about inserting musical references into a physical medium,” Rychner told the Shanghai Daily. “Some elements can speak to Westerners, others to Easterners. The bridge can be interpreted as a link between people and music and between Chinese and Westerners.”
Rychner said the posters help promote the jazz festival and its culture. For her, a good poster exhibits originality and creativity, but also artistic and technical prowess.
“Originality and creativity are needed to cultivate differentiation, and the quality of the poster depends on the technical accomplishment of the design work,” he said.
The 2022 Montreux Jazz Festival China in October could introduce a new format: a multi-city roadshow, according to organizers.
The 30 best posters from this year’s design competition are currently on display at Hangzhou’s Grand Canal Music Park.
Since jazz is considered an inclusive and open music genre, jazz festivals are not musically exclusive. At the Montreux Jazz Festival China last year, about half of the performers were jazz musicians, while the rest were rock, folk, classical and cappella artists.
Artists included Luo Ning, the leading Latin jazz pianist in China; Grammy-winning Brazilian duo Ricardo Vogt and Veronica Nunes; internationally acclaimed jazz guitarist Lawrence Ku; Inner Mongolian rock group Hanggai; the Etienne Jeanne Quartet; a cappella group Pinocchio; and independent ballad musician Wan Xiaoli.
The poster for this year’s event has not yet been announced.
Ma Yue / SHINE
While many foreigners may not closely associate China with jazz, the genre has a long history in the country.
Jazz clubs were popular entertainment venues in Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s. Today, jazz remains a niche market in China, a symbol of recreation and lifestyle for the modern generation.
Most of the jazz artists and fans are found in big cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
“Jazz artists are usually highly skilled musicians who communicate with their instruments on stage,” said Zheng Xuehui, a Shanghai music fan, who attended last year’s Chinese festival and often meets friends at a jazz club. on Fuzhou Road in Huangpu Central District.
“Jazz is in good taste compared to pop,” he said. “Create a relaxed and fun atmosphere. If the Montreux Jazz Festival China is planning a roadshow in Shanghai this year, I’m certainly interested.”
Some posters of the previous editions of the Montreux Jazz Festival
Comment from Rychner:
Bruno Gaeng’s 1971 poster looks a bit plain and naive, but when you look at it, you see that the bird is also a saxophone and you find that Frank Zappa and Freddy Below are represented in the bird’s wings.
Comment from Rychner:
This poster is a beautiful tribute to the design and artistic heritage of the Montreux Jazz Festival and to all the artists who have been part of it. I like the fact that the logo is the main subject of the poster, but also the fact that this is the only poster that the logo appears on. Finally, I like the vinyl textured background.
Comment from Rychner:
I really like the way the artist has played with the concept of tradition by integrating musical elements and instrument models into the ceramic craftsmanship. This is an original way to say something about tradition and heritage, something also very important in the DNA of the Montreux Jazz Festival. With the “play”, “pause” and “forward” many interpretations are possible: a reference to our contemporary world, to a musical medium, to the fact that time flies or to how music creates links between the past, the present and the future. .