Get Out and Vote!
Posters for Germany’s First Democratic Elections
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
– 22 April 2019
The first democratic elections took place in Germany 100 years ago. The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg is reviving associated election campaigns from the past by showcasing posters and other printed matter from this period.
The First World War has come to an end, the emperor has abdicated and the first democratic elections for the first parliament of the newly founded republic have been planned. In 1919 the political situation of Germany begins to change with incredible speed. The developments are accompanied by newspaper reportage, posters and flyers, fuelling the already charged atmosphere even more. Posters play a key role in the struggle for voters, effectively targeting voters in a simplistic but dramatic way. The plastic and brutal visual language created in the First World War endures and even the use of an enemy image remains part of a political strategy. With only about 75 posters and some 40 smaller printed products, such as leaflets, flyers and stickers, the exhibition nevertheless conveys a vehement picture of the circumstances at the time.
To some extent the overall picture of that time echoes politics and society today, for instance the radicalisation and polarisation of society. The exhibition at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg aims to remind visitors that as a form of government democracy was not always a given and had to be defended.