Seripop at Art Lab

Why wait until they're vintage?

For the last five years in Montreal however, Serigraphie Populaire has been screenprinting the most dazzling and bewitching rock posters of our time.

Their official website isn't quite built yet, but you can see examples of their work on their pages at The Blue House and GigPosters.com For a limited time though Art Lab is showing a huge number of prints from Seripop's extensive portfolio.

The show is on right now until March 3rd at Art Lab (1st floor 457 Richmond St. West). Many of the posters are for sale, as are a limited run of Seripop t-shirts.

Last night was the popping-at-the-seams opening reception.

My glasses fogged up as soon as I entered the gallery so my first exposure to the screenprinted work of Seripop was up close. The amount of detail in these rock posters is the key to their popularity.

Many of the posters use more than three colours and designs featuring maze-like contrortions of lines and shapes. Others are hatched out with jagged scribbles, or furry looking shapes, which would contrast strongly with most other hastily xeroxed band posters found on the street.

The images vary from the obscene (a lightly sketched masturbating man in a chair) to the violent (a charred human head), but these Seripop people aren't out to shock and disturb you as much as you might think. These images are presented without context and are often so obscured by abstract shapes, or disguised by their unusual colour, that it's difficult to notice the content at first glance.

No wall of the gallery was left uncovered and combined with the music blasting out of one of the rooms, and the close crowd of people milling about, things were a little overwhelming. Refuge was easily found in the shop area though. A small room near the back of the gallery stocked brightly coloured Seripop t-shirts and offered portfolio sleeves including posters for sale. Here the music wasn't as loud, the crowd non-existant and you were able to look even more closely at the posters and appreciate them in a more personal way.

On a wall on the street any Seripop poster would stand out against the usual black and white, high contrast, fast and cheap band posters out there, but all together it soon became clear that although these posters are very eye-catching, it's often difficult to make out any of the concert information. The text is so stylized on most of these posters that it's impossible to tell the who, when or where of any of these events. Are these posters just being made for the Taschen "Rock Posters of the 21st Century" coffee table book? How effective can something be if you can't read it? What's more, who in their right mind would glue any of these beautiful screenprinted artworks on lamp posts and bulletin boards?

Perhaps these are "Concept Rock Posters", like concept cars seen only at autoshows to demonstrate how cool it would be to have solar panels to power all your dashboard electronics.

If nothing else, the work of Serigraphie Populaire should be a huge inspiration to anyone wanting to promote an event. Perhaps if all band posters were as beautiful, and painstakingly handcrafted as these there wouldn't be any desire to ban them from lamp posts in the city.

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