Switzerland of Tomorrow Welcomes You Today (1964)
152.4cm x 63.5 cm
Original “Switzerland of Tomorrow” poster from the 1964 Swiss National Exhibition. As well as a brilliantly-designed futuristic poster printed in rich colours, it is a real piece of Swiss (and European) history.
The poster is the English-language edition of a tourism-encouraging poster produced in several languages to welcome international visitors to an exhibition of Swiss innovation. Switzerland holds such an event four times per century, and the exhibitions often act as a portrait of contemporary culture, design, and politics.
The 1964 National Exhibition in Lausanne offered a rather different representation of Switzerland from previous exhibitions. This was partly the result of its being held during one of the tensest periods of the Cold War; the attitudes of the Swiss were changing as the twentieth century progressed, as was the case for most Europeans, and the shadow of war had encouraged many citizens, businesses, and public bodies to reexamine their values. At “Expo 64”, the nickname for that year’s exhibition, the ‘Gulliver Project’ was introduced. The exhibition organisers made use of the character Gulliver (from Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ to assess visitors’ attitudes to daily life. A small questionnaire written by “Gulliver” was given to visitors, asking them questions about their societal attitudes, domestic lives, and work ethics, such as “Can you be a good Swiss and get up at 9am?”. The theatre director Charles Apothéloz suggested having Gulliver ask these questions so as to make the questionnaire seem less serious, and to encourage people to answer truthfully. The questionnaire answers were compiled and analysed, but never published, as had been Apothéloz’s initial intention. Charles Ascher discusses this at length in his 1965 article ‘Gulliver in the Land of the Swiss’.
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Condition: Good, pinholes to corners with some soft creases along bottom inch (would be hidden by mount).