Would you like to see how the original advertising posters of Coca Cola and Tonic looked like in 1930? Or the poster of Levi Jeans in the 1970? Or may be the commercial of the brand name Philips in 1950? If the answer is yes then you should defiantly visit the exhibition “World Famous Brands” in the gallery “The image” in Athens. In a rich collection it presents advertisements for the period of 1920 until 2000. Here is the original advertising poster of the washing powder Persil from 1940, the poster of the famous sun oil Coppertone from 1970 (for which our moms and even grand mothers once dreamed), here is also the poster of the perfume Chanel No. 5 with Nicole Kidman from 1990. There is no doubt that today advertising has reached to the levels of the art. There is no doubt about the power with which it influences the mind of a person. It governs his fantasy, develops his idea for happiness and increases his dreams. Advertising is an idea. It creates ideas and the ideas create it. And in this way in this complicated process which has already become inseparable part of the fantasy, psychology, philosophy and sociology of our society advertising takes a key position. What levels has reached the fantasy once upon a time and with the help of what associations advertising struggled for power over the human brain we could see exactly in the exhibition “World Famous Brands”. It gives us the answer of the question what were the products which once upon a time the people advertised and how exactly the copy writers and art designers have done their job. Visiting the exhibition is a good reason to meet the idea of the “attractive” from the beginning and middle of the 20th century and why not to compare them to today’s... An interesting comparison! It is really interesting to see using what ideas did the advertising try to reach to the emotional world of the people in the beginning of the 20th century and using what colors did it try to inspire happiness. Because I doubt it that today somebody would admire the poster of the Nivea cream on which we see up front a girl with a red kerchief in a position rather humble and uninteresting for our understandings and all of this is at a background split into two with bright blue and yellow color. However in 1960 nobody thought that… Besides the difference in the colors (the coloristics which our ancestors used is far more optimistic than the one in the 21st century). The expressions of the faces and the poses in which the models at the time were staying in make impression. It is really interesting to see.
Besides the exhibition it is also interesting the building itself hosting the exhibition. The employees of “The image” gallery tell that it has been build in 1926 by an architect Konstantinos Koriakidis. It has been known in the past as “The palace of Likiardopoulos” (the name of the owner of the building) and it was criticized for being too high. It has even been called with the insulting and provocative for those times word “skyscraper” because it was standing in the way of the view towards the Acropolis. However who would have thought that only 80 years later this building will be one of the lowest in the town?
Today it is considered to be one of the most important architectural monuments of the neoclassic style. An interesting fact is also that this is the first building with an electrical elevator in Athens. “The elevators is still working today and is in very good condition” – are bragging the employees. After the death of the owner Nikolaos Likiardopoulos the first floor of the building has been given for a library of the United Nations. In 1989 after in the building explodes a bomb the offices of the UN leave it and since then it has only been used by architect students.
The employees of the gallery told us about the love of the owner for photography. For many years he has been collecting pictures for all parts of the world which he managed to carefully arrange in a permanent exposition on the first floor of the building. The exposition contains various topics and periods – from 1937 to 2006. We could see there pictures from the boxing in America in 1950, from Israel in 1969 and 1973 and even the covers of the Vogue magazine from the middle of the 20th century.
The exhibition will be opened until March 14, 2010 and the entrance is free.
The image gallery
No. 36 Amalias str., Syntagma