‘When You’re Ready, It Will Speak to You’: Nagai Kazumasa’s LIFE Series
Japanese graphic designer Nagai Kazumasa started creating his LIFE series in 1987 and is still producing it today. The series comprises hundreds of posters that use animals and plants as motifs. Ikko Yokoyama, M+ Lead Curator, Design and Architecture, has revisited the series during the COVID-19 pandemic, gaining in the process a new appreciation for its consistent environmental message—one that is as relevant today as it was thirty years ago. Below, Yokoyama shares her thoughts on the series.
Repeated over decades, the message of the LIFE series is very simple: It’s about coexistence between nature and humans. If you look at Nagai’s posters from the late 1980s, and then from today, the consistency is remarkable. When he started the series in 1987, he had already proclaimed that this would be his life-long project, and he hasn’t stopped producing it since.