Zdeněk Ziegler


BB Your exhibition at this year’s Biennial will, among other things, present for the very first time original collages, sketches and source materials for film posters of which you have designed hundreds from the beginning of the sixties to the end of the eighties. Which phase do you personally consider to be the most interesting?
ZZ I consider the years of working on film posters to be one enjoyable phase. Perhaps, the beginnings are always the most interesting.

BB When did you make your first film poster?
ZZ Probably in 1963. You then came straight from the street to the Central Film Hire, showed them your work and they said they would give you a chance, and either got in touch or didn’t. My advantage was that I could draw letters, which was something that other artists, mostly painters, couldn’t do. So I broke through with my letter posters. For example, the poster for the film The Big Journey was based on lettering, which was a new thing. It’s always, to some extent, the question of luck when you want a job and deliver something unexpected. They sometimes respect it and take it.

BB In the period when you designed film posters, i.e. from the early 1960s until the late 1980s, did the technique or method of their production change in any way?
ZZ A bit. There were Xerox machines, so you could photocopy and multiply things. Photosetting came about. These things obviously did make a difference, but actually the most interesting posters are the oldest ones, and they were all done manually. They demonstrate that limited means were in fact an advantage. Another advantage was a lack of information about what was happening in the world. There was some information, however, you went to a library and they lent you Graphis, not to take home but you could have a look at it there. These magazines defined what was going on. But when you live there, it’s something else. The lack of information was a great advantage becuse you only saw what your colleagues did in this country and took a bit from each. One might say it was a kind of school, it was interconnected in a way, although everybody did it their own way.

BB Is there a film for which you wanted to do a film poster but there was no opportunity for that?
ZZ Back in the sixties some of Forman’s films.

BB Did you ever feel tempted to design posters without commission?
ZZ No, I never did that. There was always a commission, a task. I believe that it’s always necessary to follow a kind of programme, even if you were to define it yourself.

The complete interview with Zdeněk Ziegler can be found in the catalogue of the 27th Brno Biennial.

Zdeněk Ziegler (CZ)

Zdeněk Ziegler (1932) graduated in architecture at the Czech Technical University in Prague. He realised his first commissions in graphic design in the late 1950s. In 1963 he made the first of a long series of his film posters – Křik (The Cry). In the following years, he worked with a number of film directors, such as Jaromil Jireš, František Vláčil, Karel Zeman, Karel Kachyňa, Jiří Menzel. His posters won several awards, e.g. Typomundus honourable mention in Montreal, prizes at the International Film Poster Exhibition in Karlovy Vary, the Brno Biennial, the Golden and Bronze Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival, a honorary mention in the Hollywood Reporter Annual Key Award competition, a medal at the International Film Poster Competition in Colombo. Besides posters, his artistic work includes hundreds of book designs, editions, catalogues and bibliophiles, a number of exhibition graphic designs, post stamps designs, logotypes and visual identities. He was professor and rector at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague in 1990–2005; and visiting professor at universities in Mainz, Stuttgart, Paris and Istanbul. He obtained a honorary doctor’s degree from Miami University. Since 2006 he has been lecturing in graphic design at the Institute of Art and Design, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, CZ.

Biennial News

Short interviews with collaborators of the 27th Brno Biennial, authors of its exhibitions, jury members and Biennial Talks speakers.


Interviews and graphic design: Radim Peško Radim Peško (1976) is a graphic designer based in London. He works in the field of type design, editorial and exhibition projects. In 2010 he has established his RP Digital Type Foundry that specializes on typefaces that are both formally and conceptually distinctive. His work includes identity for Secession Vienna, typefaces for identities of Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Aspen Art Museum, Fridericianum, Berlin Biennale 8, various work for the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Bedford Press London or a long-term collaboration with artist Kateřina Šedá. He has lectured at many schools including Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam, ÉCAL Lausanne, HFK Bremen, KISD Cologne, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon, Sint-Lucas Ghent, University of Seoul. Since 2011 he is part of the curatorial board of the International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno., Tomáš Celizna Tomáš Celizna (1977) is interested in graphic design in connection with new technologies. He is a founding partner of design studio dgú in Prague (2001 to 2005), recipient of J. W. Fulbright Scholarship (2006), and holds MFA in graphic design from Yale University School of Art (2008). He currently lives and works independently in Amsterdam. Collaborations include, among others, OASE Journal for Architecture, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Since 2011 he is a lecturer in graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, and a member of the curatorial team of the International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno., Adam Macháček Adam Macháček (1980) is a graphic designer. Following studies at the AAAD in Prague, Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and ÉCAL in Lausanne, he co-founded in 2004 studio Welcometo.as in Lausanne and is a member of 201∞ Designers collective. His work includes publications, exhibition catalogues, illustrations and identities. Collaborations include, among others, the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Théâtre de Vevey (seasons 2003–2012), Galerie Rudolfinum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Chronicle Books, Editions Pyramyd, Museum of Czech Literature, Brno House of Arts, California College of the Arts, Airbnb. For Brno Biennial he initiated and organized exhibitions Work from Switzerland (2004) and From Mars (2006, together with Radim Peško). Since 2011 he is a member of the curatorial team of the International Biennial of Graphic Design in Brno. He lives and works in Berkeley.
Translation and copy editing: Alena Benešová, Kateřina Tlachová
Production: Miroslava Pluháčková
Printed by: Tiskárna Helbich s. r. o.
Print run: 2000
1st edition
Published by the Moravian Gallery in Brno, 2016