Monday, November 30, 2015

your turn #11 (what would the history of the poster look like without polish school's contribution?)

circus, viktor gorka, 1968

The stars of the Polish School of the 1960s and 1970s: Starowieyski, Lenica, Cieślewicz,  Wałkuski, Bodnar, Gorka, Tomaszewski, Zameczni, Świerz, Polka, Trepkowski. 

What do you think?*

* I briefly referred to Polish cinema and theater as part of the cultural explosion going on in Poland during the 1960s &1970s: Take a look at Jerzy Grotowski's amazing theater (I only found this youtube documentary in French and translated into Italian). Another Polish theater iconoclast I forgot to mention is Tadeus Kantor (here a portrait in English). Kantor and Grotowski's so-called "traumatic theater" have influenced contemporary theater all over.
For Polish Cinema of the 1960s: A list of films and directors. Watch Andre Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds. Arguably the best realist Polish film. A masterpiece. 
The grisly murdered of Sharon Tate (then Polanski's wife here).
Jan Lenica's Labyrinth (1963).


Anonymous said...

After doing some research on Viktor Gorka and his posters I realized that he didn’t just make one poster of the circus but many. They all have ‘CYRK’ written at the top in different typographies depending on the theme and look of the poster. They are all pretty simple in the shapes and forms but bring excitement through the movement going on in each. In all the posters there is an action happening, either by a human or an animal, they’re fun and playful but still simple and geometric. Gorka won many many awards for these posters from 1962 to 2000 which is super impressive. I had never heard of Gorka before this class and I think I can now say he is one of my favorite poster artist. His use of color form and type all together is great.
-Zina Dornbusch

Katie Luddy said...

In class on Monday, I was fascinated with the Polish Graphic Designers we discussed mostly because this was my first glimpse at many of these designers and their work. I chose to research the piece Circus by Viktor Gorka in the blog post. As I typed in the info and pressed search into Google, I was surprised with the little amount of information I found on him!
The information I did find on him; Gorka worked for Poland’s largest publishers and film distributors since the 1950s. The Circus is a part of a series called the “Cyrk” or Circus Posters, which won many awards from 1962 through 2000. I was also able to find many replicas of his posters for sale, many seemed very low priced for the amount of awards and success they brought him. The style in the “Cyrk” posters display an outstanding sense of composition and fun. These posters also use various geometric shapes to depict the message to the audience. Gorka was part of the Second Generation in the “Cyrk” Artists of the Polish School of Posters. Others in the Second Generation included Tadeusz Jodlowski, Jan Lenica, Roman Cieslewicz etc. The Second Generation was the continuation of the work of the First Generation from post WWII. The second generation was a more restrained and intellectual style. Many of the artists drew upon the fantastic and surreal while others favored abstraction.

This was the best website I could find with information regarding Gorka and the “Cryk” Poster Series:

- Katie Luddy

Becca Magrino said...

I had not seen any Polish poster work before last class so it was very interesting to see the work of various designers and compare it to Swiss design with fresh eyes. I noticed that almost all of the Polish posters featured a central human figure, of which there was usually some type of manipulation done. Some figures looked distorted, some were drawn to have animal-like features, and some were just painted with eccentric colors. Many of these posters featured a human from just the shoulders up with their face being heavily manipulated. I found these posters to be very bold in their subject matter as compared to Swiss design that focused more on bold shapes, lines, and non-human design work. The Polish posters were more risqué and out of the box with designs that might shock or disturb people. Franciszek Starowieyski's work particularly embodies the Polish sense of boldness that I think continues throughout all of these designers' work.

-Becca Magrino

Anonymous said...

There are many moments in history that there are intense artistic creativity conflated with unstable political or social issues and so Poland has this creative burst during the interwar period. After 1918 Poland was forming its own national identity, it seems like many artists were exploring the possibilities of what it meant to be Polish since it was always in the middle of Germany and Russia. Also, the oppressive nature of the government with the artists opened the door of Polish minds to create this new visual language that is similar to surrealism and symbolist creating the "slime-and-gore"period. From all the posters posted in this website my favorite is Jan Lenica's HITCHCOCKA, because it of the duality it exposes. The duality is conveyed by the use of black and white, moreover the use of the skull still attached to a body and with a target on its forehead. Note that the target is the only place in the poster with colors, and that the body is stamped with fingerprints, which depicts the need to create a cultural identity. Although we are meeting Lenica through his posters, he is famous for his animation films. These animations were not made for children, much the contrary, they showcase strong and complex messages. As mentioned in the website listed below, Lenica once said "I have always liked to move at the periphery of Art, at the crossing of genres. [...] I have enjoyed [...] combining elements which were seemingly distant, if not quite foreign, blurring the borders between adjacent areas, transplanting noble qualities to "lower" genres, in other words - quiet diversion." Lenica knew how to capture the grotesque explored in the "slime-and-gore" depicting the ugliness of life, being physical decay or social oppression.

- Anne De Souza

Anonymous said...

I thought last class was fascinating. Polish posters were so different and beautifully mysterious. I found the movie posters so interesting; I feel they look like an artwork, a painting or a mixed media print instead of just a poster. These people were really pushing their creativity and had no limits in their designs. I researched a bit, and there is no actual proof of whether these artists had enough facts and details about the movies before designing the posters, and of course it’s hard to imagine they were allowed to actually watch the films before working (although it might have happened), but when one looks at the posters, it makes sense that they look so expressive and inventive; they are so imaginative that they make regular “American” posters look conservative and common. One of my favorites was the poster for Sleeping Beauty by Hanna Bodnar because it looks (or feels) very musical, it reminds me of ballet. The different tones of blue make it relaxing and also make the princess seem frozen in time, kind of like floating in dreams.

Alejandra Jimenez.

Anonymous said...

With all the graphic design classes that I've taken, I never knew of any polish designers until last class. Wiktor Gorka's work stood out to me the most. He took a very odd, but cool approach with his Liza Minelli poster. I researched more of his posters and he stays with that style. I love the colors and the entire presentation of his work. With his designs, they remind me of a question that graphic designers get asked lot. "To be a graphic designer, do you need to know how to draw?" No, not really. But you need to know your way with colors, typefaces, layouts and so on. Or even different areas of art. Some his designs are sketched, painted or combined and it's really fascinating. He has inspired me to try to step out of my comfort zone more when it comes to designing.

Alicia Veasy

Anonymous said...

I delved into some research about Gronowski. His work demonstrates a purposeful attempt to keep his own personal biases and thoughts out of the posters he creates, which is something I identify strongly with. I realize that many designers look at creating a piece for a client as an opportunity to express themselves as well, but I have always tried to keep my opinions and style to myself and instead try to put myself in the mindset of the viewer and what design styles would best communicate the message to them and the best way for them to receive it. I spend significant amounts of time devoted to research when I'm designing posters or web banners at work for various events. I look at the speaker and the topic and then do historical research to understand the framework of the issue. I go back and look at other examples of advertising for similar events, as well as the speaker's personal advertising on books or a website to try and gauge how best to approach each project. Gronowski seems to hold a similar view and maintained that a graphic designer must not impose his taste on the viewer since the poster is a "communication between seller and public", which I think is a really selfless way to design.
—Sam Richad

Anonymous said...

Overall the Polish School had some interesting concepts and designs, but Hanna Bodnar was the one that captured my eye this week. I think her style is colorful, clean, playful and sometimes odd. It sort of has a pop art feel, but the figures seem to float in the poster. Although, there’s no much information about her, other than she was born in 1929, and that she graduated in 1955 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (ASP); her works are full of life, style, and sentiment. They are unique works of art. -Walleska Lacayo

Anonymous said...

What interested me the most in my research was the design of the Cyrk posters. After the end of World War II, the Communist government began to commission artists to design not only political and social posters, but government-run cultural media as well. This included posters for music, theater, art and of course, the circus. Thus began the development of Polish poster art, which later became known as the Polish School of Posters. The organization that oversaw the circus wanted the new poster art to reflect its efforts of modernization of the circus, and to remind people of the excitement that the circus brings. Cyrk posters became known for their vibrant colors, painterly strokes, design, lettering, humor, and cleverness—all aspects soon recognized as qualities of the Polish School of Posters. The circus quickly became the most recognized subject depicted by the Polish School of Posters, giving it the reputation it has today and the influence it has had over the years.

-Jamie Port

lucy hynes said...

The short answer is boring. After doing some googling I think the main contribution of the Polish school is edge. There is a raw and primal angst that comes from the entire body of work. The posters are so successful and jarring because the artists are able to react viscerally and design from there. There is no attempt to coddle an indecisive consumer, which is often the case with a lot of design we see living in a capitalist society. I was very intrigued by the Opus International magazine which Roman Cieslewicz contributed several covers and consulted for. I can't find much on it except from the translated French wiki page. Do you know more about this magazine? Why is it so hard to find information on?

Ashlee Fabian said...

Of the people studied, I found the work of polish graphic designer Roman Cieslowicz to be really interesting. His work seemed to attempt to capture intangible human emotions and thoughts and express them through artwork. When I looked at his metaphysical posters, I became immediately intrigued with how a subtle change to human form, eg. replacing a human head with a ball of light, provokes a response in the viewer. After doing further research on him, I recognized a trend within his work where he made many posters which featured close-up views of a human head or skull, then added some form of distortion and/or expression in order to change it into something that is almost unrecognizable. His distortions are often dark and haunting and seem to reveal a symbolic kind of warping of the human mind that is striking and memorable. Overall I liked his work because it taps into something that is evocative and unexplainable and really forces the viewer to think.

Sabrina Tomlinson said...

The most influential of the pieces we have recently seen is are those of Franciszek Starowieyski. I'm not sure if it is because I myself tend to work with mediums devoid of color and subjects that are kind of dark, but I was really intrigued by his pieces. His exploration of themes such as violence, dark humor and alien themes are all very thought provoking and interesting even though they can also be quite disturbing. I was interested in seeing more pieces in the style of superrealism, but came to find that in modern times its meaning has changed quite a bit. Superrealism in modern definition is photorealism, which is just ridiculously realistic renderings of photographs in mixed media. I'm not sure if the meaning has changed over the years or if the word choice wasn't correct, but I'm kind of confused. However, the influence of the 60s and 70s is apparent in both. Regardless, I love the style whatever it's called.

Fabiola Perez said...

This week I found Lenica’s work to be particularly captivating. They are extremely original and unlike anything I have ever seen before. He was interested in many different arts that influenced his work. He was unique and seems to always want to challenge the norm. He made his posted look like painting but he also wanting them to be two-dimensional like posters. His experience in film greatly influenced his posters.
I also really liked the work of Starowieyski. His work is strangely bizarre and uniquely interesting. However, my favorite this week would have to be Cieslewicz. I loved how he made posters to try and express things that can't be expressed verbally. His work really challenges the human mind. He states that he wanted to create posters because it was the easiest way for his work to be seen by the most people. He found communication to be of upmost importance. I just found his work to be extremely captivating and beautiful.

Jonathan Villegas said...

Wieslaw Walkuski brings too life creatures that float in the ether of the strange. Creatures waiting to be plucked by the hand of the artist. Weislaw’s creatures are reminiscent of those raw and jagged like monsters we find in Goya’s paintings. Such as the Father Eating Son painting. The subject of the monster evokes rawness, an underdeveloped nature, impulsive anxiety, terror, carthasis through volatile means, animalistic, primal expression, beastly. All of these being very much human emotions that we feel and restrain throughout our lives. In a modern world where everything is architected to look and sound clean it is refreshing to see the flip side in the design of super surrealism. If Wieslaw’s monsters had a soundtrack to them I feel like Nine Inch Nails' Downward Spiral would be a good fit them. Just have these monsters screaming to industrial rock.

Anonymous said...

What really stuck with me from class this week was the constant comparison of international graphic design to what is being produced in America. I never fully realized just how much capitalism commands design and visual identity here. As a Creative Advertising & Graphic Design double major, I see just how interconnected the process of designing something is with the intention to sell something, regardless of whether it’s an idea, a product, or a person, and to see that that was not always the case was very eye-opening. The poster that really highlighted this huge contrast in design culture was “The Sleeping Beauty” movie poster by Polish artist Hanna Bodnar. It is so beautifully haunting yet simultaneously maintained a child-like innocence that completely captures the essence of the film. It saddens me when I realize that something like this would never be accepted in mainstream media in the United States. I have always wanted movie posters to better reflect the style and mood of the movies they promote. Saul Bass successfully accomplished that with his movie posters in the 1960s, but now the go-to move is to plop the face/s of the film’s stars on a poster and be done with it. Seeing that other countries did not immediately resort to that is refreshing to see, and I wish we saw more of that nowadays.

-Rachel Watkins