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Igor Gurovich pays homage to Soviet Constructivism for FIFA’s 2018 poster

T

he Official Poster of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is a true reflection of Russia’s artistic and football heritage commented FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura upon the unveiling of the event’s official poster. 

“We are very proud of this beautiful landmark asset that portrays such an important icon and celebrates the coming tournament on Russian soil” she adds on the creation of renowned Russian artist Igor Gurovich chose legendary Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin as a central figure of his work.

Artistically, Gurovich was inspired by the Russian movement of Constructivism from the late 1920s, in particular the posters designed by Dziga Vertov and the Stenberg brothers. The rays of light emanating from the ball, a common feature of Constructivist work, symbolises the tournament’s energy, while the circle of green represents the pitches of 12 stadiums in 11 Host Cities that will stage the 64 matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The culmination of this festival of football will be the Final on 15 July 2018 at the Luzhniki Stadium, where the captain of the winning team will lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy in front of the watching world.

“The style of Soviet post-Constructivist posters from the 1920s and 1930s, their unique visual language, a new, fresh poetry of figurative images, became one of the most important and revered elements of Russian culture,” said Gurovich. “This language is unquestionably thought of as Russian throughout the world. Therefore, in my work on the poster, I really wanted to make this language modern and relevant once again.”

FIFA World Cup Posters have long been considered a genuine work of art that draw interest from dealers, collectors of football memorabilia, members of the artistic community and football fans all over the world.

“It was very important for us to portray Russia as the Host Country in the Official Poster,” added the Chairman of the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee Vitaly Mutko. “That’s why we chose Lev Yashin, a symbol of Russian football, as the main figure. I’m sure that the poster will become one of the most memorable symbols of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and that fans and participants alike will approve of it.”

Uruguay 1930

Yashin played in four FIFA World Cups – 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970 – and remains the only goalkeeper in the history of football to win the Ballon d’Or. In the poster, he is dressed in his traditional outfit of black shirt and shorts, knee brace and his famous cap. He is shown reaching for the ball, one half of which is a typical football from Yashin’s era, with the other depicting the vast landmass of Russia as seen from space, reflecting a key inspiration of the 2018 FIFA World Cup brand, that of Russia’s achievements in space exploration.

Who is Igor Gurovich

The designer of the poster, Russian artist Igor Gurovich, was born in 1967. A member of the Russian Academy of Graphic Design, he also teaches at the National Research University Higher School of Economics and jointly founded the Ostengruppe design lab.

He has worked on various projects throughout his career, including the uniform for the Russia team at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the branding of the Kremlin Cup tennis tournament (1997-1999) and the rebranding of the Moscow International Film Festival.

He received the grand prize from the Moscow International Advertising Festival in 1994 and the All-Russian Design Contest in 2000.

He also won the top award at the Moscow Global Biennale of Graphic Design Golden Bee in 2012 and the AGI prize at the Chaumont Biennale of Graphic Design in 2013. He has put on numerous exhibitions of his own work.

Italy 1934 (Gino Boccasile)

France 1938 (Henri Desmé)

Switzerland 1954

England 1966

Mexico 1970

Spain 1982 (Joan Miró)

Italy 1990 (Alberto Burri)

Brazil 2014 (Karen Haidinger)