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vintage magic poster Solanis 1945
G. Conde
37" X 24"
A-, L

Our Poster of the Month poses the ways of magic by way of a special angle upon amazements that are "modern." What would modern magic look like? Perhaps before taking a stab at answering that question we should specify that "le Magicien Moderne" is a French phrase. Let's also put on the table the fact that this vintage lithographic design was produced in 1945, at the end of World War II.
Notice the prominent position of the white bird (a "peace dove"?) emerging from the magician's top hat. The matter of peace after such such a venomous five years may be urged along the flags of the leading lights of the winning side--(in the order shown in the graphic) France, the US, Britain and Russia. Four playing cards are also to be seen in this flash of graphic meaningfulness. More than four blossoms fill out the picture we're trying to get a bead on.
Modern Magic (c.1945) surely involves the harmonizing of various points of view--something much easier said than done. But let's go back to the French factor to really situate the heart and soul of this quite remarkable graphic design. The visual attitude of vignettes swirling in the dark (enhanced by superb lithography and modelling) is a dead ringer for Surrealist insurrection. Desperate, extreme times call for more than stuffed shirt, top hat platitudes. The not-shown magician, Solanis, a modernist with a difference, crashes the party that could be settled upon facile tricks that carry no follow-through. Its momentum of something else sustains the moment with a sense of magic there for the taking for those who can rise to it.

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