RE:ASSEMBLE – 40th Summer Exhibition

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A collection of iconic punk music posters curated by renowned Salford born graphic designer, Trevor Johnson, is currently on display in Manchester, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ legendary performance at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall.

The exhibition celebrates the music explosion that happened in Manchester and the North West of England during the late 1970s to mid1980s, showcasing long archived posters and music merchandise which bring to life this vibrant period in time, and tell the stories of those involved.

In gathering together this unique collection of punk music artwork, Johnson collaborated with a number of key contributors from the original, burgeoning scene, including music promoter, Chris Hewitt and pioneering Mancunian punk band, The Drones.

The new exhibition, entitled Re:Assemble: 40th Summer Exhibition, also pays homage to Manchester’s famous Festival of the Tenth Summer, a music and arts festival which took place 30 years ago in July 1986, in which Johnson, along with many of his “Madchester” contemporaries – Peter Saville, Alan Erasmus, Tony Wilson, John Cooper Clarke, New Order, The Fall and A Certain Ratio, to name a few – were heavily involved.

The Festival of The Tenth Summer was organised by Factory Records to “celebrate Manchester”, specifically with reference to the first performance by the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester a decade earlier in June 1976.

A poster commissioned by Johnson to promote the current exhibition, designed by Manchester School of Art’s Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design, John Walsh, utilises a loose modification of a graphic produced for the festival by Factory’s Peter Saville – who gave it his personal blessing.

Manchester School of Art’s third year graphic design students are mentored by Johnson, now Design Director at award winning Manchester based creative agency, Havas Lynx. Many of its most talented graduates are recruited by Havas Lynx as part of its Graduate Recruitment Programme. Commenting on the poster commission, Walsh said:

“It was a pleasure to work on the promotional artwork for this exhibition. Manchester School of Art really values the relationship it has with Trevor and Havas Lynx, which ensures Manchester’s rich creative heritage is shared first hand and nurtured through the university’s up and coming design talent.”

Johnson himself is best known for creating iconic designs for the Hacienda nightclub and its owners, Factory Records, as well as the venues synonymous with the era, including Dry Bar, Barca and Dukes 92.

Talking at the launch of the exhibition Johnson said: “Some of the posters are rare, if not unique examples. Others are in reproduction to help us tell our story. On the whole they were not made with any thought for posterity, but designed to be eye-catching, bold statements, starkly informative reminders for dates that once gone, were quickly pasted over, or torn down.”

“Most of the hands-on techniques used in the production of many of these posters are almost lost in our digital era; typesetting, signwriting, screenprinting and so on, are now the reserve of artisans and artists “

The 40th Summer exhibition is available to view at HavasVillage Manchester, 52 Princess Street, Manchester until July 31.