Makoto Nakamura poster exhibition, House of the Poet López Velarde

The Makoto Nakamura poster exhibition (1926–2013), internationally recognized for its graphic contributions for the advertising of the Shiseido brand, will soon be inaugurated. His work is considered a work of art, even some of his graphics are exhibited at the MoMA The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The collection exhibited in the Gallery of the House of the Poet Ramón López Velarde.

The House of the Poet Ramón López Velarde, a space dedicated to the arts in all its expressions, there was the inauguration of the exhibition “Posters of Makoto Nakamura” as part of the activities of the International Biennial of the Poster in Mexico, a sample of the work of one of the most fruitful Japanese designers of the postwar period. During the inauguration, which was attended by Mr. Masaru Susaki, president of the Japan Foundation in Mexico, commented on how there has been a close relationship between both institutions (the headquarters of the exhibition and the foundation) for 25 years and how the posters that could be seen in the room were made at one time before digital technologies such as photoshop, being so that all the arrangements that could be expressed in the thirty posters were placed using artisan techniques.

The vast majority of the work presented at the exhibition is part of Nakamura’s work for the Japanese company producing cosmetics and beauty products Shiseido, the oldest in the world, where he would work with several models, but especially with Sayako Yamagushi , the First international model out of the country of the rising sun, of which Nakamura would declare “Her beauty does not reside in the adornment of her face, but in the adornment of her spirit.” Its handling of light and colors is exquisite, showing captivating details posters designed to sell nail polish and eyeliner, recalling a bit the Japanese philosophy of finding beauty in what is imperfect.

This exhibition of Nakamura’s poster work offers us an idea about his aesthetic sense and how he helped Shiseido to excel as a company.

With the determined support of the Japan Foundation in Mexico, the collection of posters designed by the great creator Makoto Nakamura, an exhibition that arises from the interest of Dr. Raymond Vezina and Mtra, is presented for the first time in our country. Mineko Suzuki, who sponsored by the government of Japan, carried out a few years ago a research project that culminates in the production of this extraordinary exhibition.

Makoto Nakamura, among the great masters of the Japanese cartel, was the humblest of them and received public recognition only after his death. His photographic production work, developed at a time when there were no digital technologies and programs such as Photoshop, is an elegant example of production in the field of advertising poster. Both the design and each detail and compositional element of its models makes its poster proposal a watershed of the production of advertising image.

Nakamura is a graphic designer and art director of Shiseido, the most important beauty products company in Japan and one of the pioneers in that field worldwide. Nakamura joined Shiseido in 1949, from the mid-1950s until the 1980s, he participated in the creation of most of the company’s advertising, achieving with it a reengineering in the brand image through the substitution of illustrations by photography that despite preserving touches of traditional illustration, were innovative due to their printing techniques and bold cropping effects, thereby establishing an original expressive style within the middle of the photograph.

This exceptional style is evident in the images on which I work with the Sayoko Yamaguchi model for the advertising campaign of the Shiseido perfume line. About Yamaguchi, Nakamura once commented: “Her beauty does not reside in the adornment on her face, but in the adornment of her spirit.” Also, regarding his own creative efforts, he said: “I try to capture emotions, moods and feelings that defy quantifiable expression, which could even be called sense of presence and human spirit.”

In the advertising images, which Nakamura has created, we can find allusive and abstract aspects such as: space, interval, time, sign and sense of things; that is, concepts that arise due to the physical impossibility in the concrete way of representing everything that is present. According to Nakamura: “This beauty, the aesthetic effects that reside in these spaces and meanings, is in the heart of Shiseido and is an essential part of her identity as corporate.”

Nakamura also dedicated himself to the academic formation of many of young designers. His works have been recognized with numerous awards both in Japan and in other countries. In 1993 he was awarded the Purple Ribbon medal, recognition granted to all those who have made contributions to the academic and artistic development of Japan. He died in 2013 at the age of eighty-seven.

House of the Poet López Velarde
The Museum of the House of the Poet Ramón López Velarde is located in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, Mexico. The museum is named after the Zacatecan poet Ramón López Velarde who lived in that house for the last 3 years of his life.

This museum meets the objectives of social interest of the foundation that manages it: to host the Museum of the House of the Poet Ramón López Velarde, who inhabited it from 1918 until his death on June 19 , 1921 , and protects the Efraín Huerta libraries (5,154 volumes) and Salvador Novo (6,200 volumes), in addition to being a meeting place for poets and writers in order to promote culture through the dissemination of literature, visual and performing arts.

The building has the poet’s museum house, two libraries dedicated to the poets Efrain Huerta and Salvador Novo , a multipurpose room with capacity for 80 people, a café-bar called “Las Hormigas” with a capacity of 10 tables for 50 people, a unit of seminars and workshops with capacity for 40 people, and a gallery.