The ongoing exhibition ‘When Walls Talk!’ at the House of European History which opened in April 2022 is slowly coming to an end. Visitors have a chance until 13 November to discover an amazing collection of 100 posters from 100 years of European history. This expo has drawn a lot of attention, not just for all those interested in the art of posters but also because it thoroughly explores the use of this medium in the context of promotion, propaganda and protest.
The exhibition is divided in several sections which deal with topics such as Turmoil and unity, Barriers and connection, Activism and protest and After the poster?
The illustrated poster was born in Europe in the late 19th century, reflecting an increasingly commercialised world with conflicting political ideologies. Posters are ephemeral, produced for a specific moment, yet many elements are recycled and resonate in cultural memory today. From the propaganda of the World Wars and the Cold War to the explosion of cultural exchange, tourism and the emergence of multi-voiced social movements after the Second World War, complex layers of European division and unity are revealed through a selection of posters from the collection of the House of European History. They reflect the development and transformation of the public sphere in European cities.
A poster is like a miniature of an event: a quotation – from life, or from high art.Susan Sontag, 1970
When Walls Talk! exhibition describes the role of the posters in European public life and invites the visitors to reflect on various approaches to the continent, both as a geographical area and as a concept. It also explores how posters function as vehicles to inform and educate but sometimes also to manipulate the public.
We definitely recommend this expo if you are in Brussels. You can also book a tour (guided/self guided) via this link or you can view the exhibition online at Europeana. You can also learn more on the website of the House of European History.