Sep 122007
Authors: Valerie Hisam

Life is like a burning match: it starts burning and one never knows when it is going to stop or be blown out.

And once it is blown out, it is over; there is no way to re-light the match, or life.

This was the inspiration for one international artist’s representation of the anniversary of Sept. 11. All the poster depicts is the word “Life” spelled out in matches and is accompanied by a burning matchbook. This poster, along with a hundred others, will be displayed at the 15th biennial Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition (CIIPE) at CSU beginning Friday and showing until Oct. 19.

There will be 87 international graphic and poster artists from 31 different countries showcased at the nationally acclaimed poster exhibition.

“The Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition was founded to bring outstanding examples of graphic arts from leading poster artists from around the globe to here,” said Linny Frickman, the director of the Clara Hatton Gallery and the coordinator of the CIIPE. “These posters give us great insights of the thoughts and feelings of people around the world.”

Every other year, the CSU Department of Art invites artists to submit their best work from the past two years, or the artists can create a new piece based on political, social and cultural issues in today’s world. These posters are then displayed in the Hatton Gallery, the Curfman Gallery, other areas in Lory Student Center, and the Visual Arts Building.

Although poster art is a common form of visual art outside of the United States, the CIIPE is the only exhibit of this kind in the country.

“(The CIIPE) has come to have an international reputation among the graphic world,” Frickman said. “This program is also able to highlight the excellence of the graphic design program at CSU.”

From remembering Sept. 11 to the Chernobyl disaster to the AIDS epidemic in Africa, there are hundreds of different ideas and themes that will be visually expressed.

“Colorado is kind of landlocked and we don’t look outside the mountains sometimes,” said Stan Scott, the LSC art coordinator and a master of fine arts graduate student. “This exhibit is able to give a visual impact and bring these isolated or foreign events home.”

The exhibit is a way for students and local residents to see what is happening globally, said Scott.

Since 1979, the CIIPE, hosted by CSU, has brought international art into the community as a way to represent different cultural standings on world issues. And, along with the exhibit, diverse views are depicted to provide insight on how the United States and other world affairs are viewed by foreign countries.

“The whole purpose is to promote real dialogue and understanding,” Frickman said.

There will also be a public lecture given by world famous Chinese graphic artist Fang Chen at the Lincoln Center, Thursday at 5 p.m.

Chen, who teaches at Pennsylvania State University, will be named honor laureate for the 15th biennial CIIPE. His work has been awarded and recognized all throughout Europe, Asia and North America.

The Lincoln Center is a major part of the community for this event, said Ellen Martin, the visual arts administrator for the Lincoln Center, and will put his work on display as one of many honor laureates that have been a part of the CIIPE.

“The Lincoln Center has had an exciting variety of honor laureates,” Martin said. “It is a very accessible place that has always been a part of this community.”

The Lincoln Center is also hosting a high school art exhibition where local high school students and art teachers submitted their work and three students and two teachers will be awarded on Thursday. The theme for this year’s high school exhibit was “Freedom” and the winner’s art will be on display for the next month, as well.

Being able to express an idea as clearly as some of these artists and designers have in their posters is what has made visual messages so important throughout history and today. Visual language is one of the most compelling forms of communication in today’s world, said Frickman.

“It’s about the power of visual language,” Frickman said. “The visual arts can have a great power in conveying and expressing important messages.”

Staff writer Valerie Hisam can be reached at


The 15th biennial CIIPE events – when and where:

15th Biennial Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition

When: Sept. 14 — Oct. 19

Where on display: Clara Hatton Gallery, Curfman Gallery, Visual Arts Building and Lory Student Center.

Honor Laureate, Directors and High School Exhibition

When: Thursday Sept. 13 from 5-7 p.m.

Where: Lincoln Center

Cost: Free

15th biennial CIIPE Opening Reception and Poster Sale

When: Friday Sept. 14 from 7-9 p.m.

Where: Curfman Gallery, Hatton Galley, Visual Arts Building and LSC

Cost: Free

Satellite Exhibitions

Asian Masters of Graphic Arts: A Selected Showcase from Past CIIPE

When: Sept. 11 – Dec. 31

Where: National Bank Gallery at the Morgan Library

Moscow Artists Remember Chernobyl: Posters Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster

When: Sept. 12 – Oct. 19

Where: Glass Gallery in Visual Arts Building

Selections from the CIIPE

When: Sept. 12 – Oct. 20

Where: Longs Peak Student Galley at Front Range Community College

Music, Theatre and Dance Around the World: Selections from the CIIPE

When: Sept. 7 – Dec. 8

Where: University Center of the Arts

Graphic Responses: An Online Exhibition of Digital Responses to Current Social Issues

When: Sept. 14 – Oct. 19

Where: Directions Gallery in the Visual Arts Building

The World on Stage: Theatre Posters from Around the Globe: Selections from the CIIPE

When: Sept. 7 – Oct. 31

Where: Bas Bleu Theatre

Graphic Responses: Visual Reactions to a World in Flux

When: Sept. 27 from 11 a.m. to noon

Where LSC room 220

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