The strength of Henryk Tomaszewski's poster art lies in a simple and intelligent translation of messages and information and of literary, theatrical, film, music and social themes and motifs into the visual language. He himself admitted to "a life-time search for such signs which would be understandable to everybody".Tomaszewski’s posters are simple and complex, prosaic and poetic. The lines in his posters seemed to be gestures, dancing on the paper.
As we talked last class about Polish Poster art and its prominent position within the 1940's design community I was very drawn into the numerous awards that artists like Zamecznik, Tomaszewski, Świerzy, Starowieyski and Pałka claimed. But why did this caught my attention so much? I started to wonder about the role the "award industry" plays in the positioning and claim to fame of an artist. Although one cannot deny the abosulte genius, risk-taking and originality of all th posters we have seen I kept thinking about Paul Rosen's masteful documentary "Who Gets to Call It Art?" In "Who Gets to Call It Art?" rosen takes us through the fascinating scene of the 1960's New York art world, and a great ten year period when American artists were really changing the world of art, and focusing primarily on New York Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Henry Geldzahler.In the documentary, a large emphasis is made in this man's sole recognition as an authority of what was good and bad, disposable or valuable and worthy of recognition in the modern art scene. The end of the documentary focuses on Henry's construction of the New York Painting and Sculpture 1940-1970 exhibition at the Met, which he handpicked all by himself. Although the world of awards is different becaus ethe mayority of the pieces subject to award recognition are put on the panel of different judges and thus opinions, one cannot stiop thinking about how much of the fame and value of these emerging artists was based on acculuation or expectance.Part of the documentary here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gh377ecvrscgaby bruna
Jan Lenica caught my attention this week especially when mentioned in class that his art is rather claustrophobic. He definitely has his own style that makes him stand out from other polish artists of his time. I like how the expressions are simple and he brings an abstract element to his designs with the incorporation of the lines and the choices of colors used. What is also captivating is how the designs have a very mature concept compared to its puerile look (although by no means am I saying that it is, but someone may see it as so when first looking at his work). Of the posters posted on the blog, Alban Berg's Wozzeck definitely shows so much expression and there definitely seems to be a strong appeal to Art Nouveau. According to Wikipedia, the subject of the opera is “the inevitability of hardship and exploitation for the poor – is brutal and uncompromisingly presented.” What this shows is that the figure in this poster represents this statement clearly.
(Dustin) In response to Gaby's comment I agree that the establishment of prestigious awards and prizes have somewhat become an undeniable aspect of the art community, which seemed to have truly sprouted within Tomaszewki's time. I am ambivalent towards the idea that attaining certain honors and decorations are what it's truly about. Unfortunately, the general population sees it that way. But to me it wasn't the acclaim and awards these artists got that defined them. It was the work they produced that got them to that point. Waldemar Swierzy is a fine example of how his truly great work exceeded the major awards that supposedly defined him. As I looked through a collection of his designs and illustrations I saw this communal thread that was vested within each work, which was the use of the human face and expression. By simply looking into the eyes of any of his characters, you discover their humanity in some way. They are truly moving and powerful.
Waldemar Świerzy’s style is very simplistic but at the same time carries an in depth, much more meaningful stroke. His contour lines seem to define the mood of his pieces. His Jimi Hendrix poster is extremely powerful. He combines a two tone face and background with the psychedelic strokes to create a collision of design. These contrasting parts make for an eye grabbing result. It is as though the head of Jimi Hendrix is emerging from a cloud of creativity and imagination. He uses a deep tone for the background color to set back the face and bring forth the intense hues. The poster directly above it has a similar style with the head emerging from the depths. He uses a faded blue tint to also create a mood throughout the poster. This is the reason why I feel his pieces carry more than simplicity but depth.
The work of the more recent polish poster design seems to use elements that are morbid. This can be seen in the work of Franciszek Starowieyski and more recently Wiesław Wałkuski. It would seem like this is a style or movement centralized in Poland, but I think it is much more than that. Professor Triff mentioned that the work was influenced by the nature of the soviet block and their attitude towards artwork; I agree that this is also a contributing factor. The fact that many of these artists lived through or were born into a country that was devastated by war also must have an effect, and may be the reason behind the use of blood and gore in Wałkuski’s work. These factors which influenced artists also probably are a factor in the success of the work from the country as well. If this is true, it would mean we would be seeing a lot of good design coming out of Iraq and various part of the Middle East in the future.-Raymond Mathews
I was immediately drawn to the work of Waldemar Świerzy. It was the Jimi Hendrix poster that caught my eye because he is such a familiar icon. I was surprised to find out the mixed media used by this artist. I was amazed to find he incorporated water colors and even crayons in his designs. He proves to be very successful with his use of mixed media because there appears to be no transition from his use of one medium to the next. I like the smoothness and simplicity of the Jimi Hendrix poster as well as its psychedelic style which not only works in the scheme of the art, but works in reflecting Jimi Hendrix as an artist. The bright neon colors are almost surprising against the dark gray tones in the face. Generally psychedelic artwork tends to be more ornate in its design, but here the style is still achieved in such a simplistic way by using the colors as an accent against the rest of the piece.
the last comment was not from lauren, it was from julie rega i was signed in on a friends computer.
Out of all the designs shown this week, the work of Franciszek Starowieyski and Wieslaw Walkuski struck the deepest chord. The figures are so beautiful and elegant, and of course, are at the same time grotesque and deeply disturbing. Walkuski's "Caligula" poster in particular. That scrape of red across the things face; It's so unusual and at the same time makes the entire composition. This mutated man, the perverted Roman emperor himself, with some kind of opened/closed mouth turns round with his neck contorting, in a most unnatural way. And there is that blot on his face. Hiding? Revealing? Reminiscent of a scar. Not someone I'd want to associate with. But someone very interesting to look at for sure. Its even more disturbing to think of how this alien body came from Walkuski. From this picture, along with many others, its seems that a moment in his head would be a memorable one.
I was looking at Franciszek Starowieyski’s section at www.theartofposter.com and I really liked his style. He keeps a dark, surreal thematic throughout all his posters that is very appealing or at least touching. You can almost feel those dark times for the polish people reflected in most of the posters. The use of pale and dark colors, the strange characters, and the messages and mood that they carry are some of the characteristics I like the most. He has a very unique style that he follows and makes it easy to recognize his work. I noticed that in general the typographic work on his posters is rather small and does not draw much attention, opposed to the work by Tadeusz Trepkowski or that of some American designers of the time. It is very similar in all posters and seems to be close to art nouveau typography with a personal twist.
Wiesław Wałkuski's poster art are pieces that you want to look away from but you can't. They all have a hyperrealistic quality that make them tangible but your mind knows the subject matter in some of the paintings are not real. There is something eerie in the way he paints the crown crushing the skin on the poster for "The Mother of the Kings". Covering her eyes so she is blinded by the crown. Whether or not that is related to the story, I don't know, but it seems like a good assumption to make.He makes you think twice about focusing on the painting for the subject matter.
I was really drawn to the work of Wojciech Zamecznik. His poster design style combines constructivism and Bauhaus into a unique style that helped shape poster design in Poland. We talked about this in class a little, but I just wanted to comment on it a little more, how the art of poster has nearly disappeared. Movie posters today are a carbon copy of the next. A "designer" pastes an image of the starring actors along with a scene of the movie if space permits and the headline and names of actors are placed at the top or the center of the poster. Looking through the work of Wojciech Zamecznik really opens my eyes to the possibilities that can exist in poster design. I wish movie posters today had the design that existed in the mind of Wojciech Zamecznik.Some of my favorites of his are the posters "Milczaca gwiazda" and "NIEDOKONCZONA OPOWIESC". I also enjoyed his film poster for "SOS Titanic" made in 1961. No where in the poster is there a picture of the ship. In its place are a series of lines alluding to water and an interruption in the lines suggesting destruction. And then to have these poster plastered all over Warsaw would make the streets themselves poster galleries.Poland was the center of "wall and board" art. In warsaw in 1968 the first poster museum in the world opened. Two years prior to that the First International Poster Biennial was held.
Waldemar Świerzy’s style of poster art immediately caught my eye as I scrolled through this week’s posting. The three examples of his work post on the site initially give different impressions, but as I looked at them more I began to be able to recognize a theme. All of the portraits in his posters have this half empty look; as though they are not quite finished or that there is something missing. It leaves the individuals expression open to interpretation by the observer. His poster of the man’s head in the clouds is reminiscent of the work of Rene Magritte. Magritte did a lot of work with clouds and the similar color blue for the sky, as well as the “half-filled” style of portraiture. Take a look at Magritte’s La Maggie Noire (or many other works by him) and you may be able to recognize a similarity in their style as well.
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