Before there were webs there were posters. And before the city that revived with the Olympic Games, the technological districts and metropolitan expansion, there was the great transformation of Montjuic, which was to have a fundamental impact on the creation of the modern city.

The culture of posters and the absorption of what was a distant, inhospitable mountain were both different aspects of Barcelona’s drive to make a name for itself in the world.

All of this can be clearly seen in the exhibition of posters “Montjuïc 100 anys de cartellisme” , which can be visited at the Castle of Montjuïc until the end of August. There are more than twenty posters that present the different perceptions of the mountain through the century, but it is in the events related with the trade fairs that the mountain becomes the true protagonist.

While it is true that there are several different Montjuïcs, reflected in the posters for sport and the games of 1992, the car and bike races, culture and its museums, its delightful walks and other popular images, it is also true that none of this would exist without the transformation that came about with the universal Exhibition of 1929. This Exhibition was the central act in the modernization of the city and its aperture towards the great industrial areas of the Baix Llobregat region, a development that was to be thwarted by the Civil War.

The section on “Business on Montjuïc: trade fairs” in the exhibition is the opportunity to show many of the posters –now charming works of art- generated by the Trade Fairs in the thirties, forties and fifties, or the new themed shows that began to transform the way that fairs were organized: Sonimag, Hogarotel, the Saló de l’Automòbil and the Saló Nàutic…

The work by Enric Huguet and Pla Narbona for Fira de Barcelona were to put Catalan graphic design at the forefront of the European avant-garde, following the tradition started by Joan Llaverias and Ramon Casas. They would in turn be followed by the Olympic generation, with Mariscal, América Sánchez, Claret Serrahima, Peret, Enric Satué and many more.

Art and intelligence at the service of great events and everyday life.

A sample of posters related to international exhibitions and fairs

R.P.