POSTER FOR PRAFFERLI + HUBER PHARMACEUTICALS

Ernst Bettler, 1959, 154 x 112.3 cm

“The beauty of it was that, taken alone, each poster was utterly inoffensive. But you must remember that everything has a Zusammenhang; a context. These posters would be seen together in horizontal rows. And I was very careful with my briefing of the bill stickers.” On hundreds of sites around Burgwald and neighbouring Sumisdorf, the posters appeared in fours. In the first a clowning child’s body made an “N”; in the second a woman’s head was bowed inside the “A”-shaped triangle of her forearms. An old man’s contortions in the third poster (“that took forever to shoot”) sketched a “Z”. No prizes for guessing that the girl in the final plakat stood defiantly still, her almost silhouetted profile as stiff as, well, a letter “I”, for example.

(“‘I’m Only a Designer’: the Double Life of Ernst Bettler,” Christopher Wilson, Dot Dot Dot #2, 2001)