As one of the few art forms allowed in post-World War II Poland, Polish poster design reached its golden age in the mid-1950s through to the early 1970s.
Its creators at the Polish School of Poster Art set the standard for an artistic and humane expression, a slither of which comes to Plymouth next month in Resounding Signs.
An exhibition of Polish posters designed for Frédéric Chopin festivals between 1955 and 2006, it’s a snapshot of the movement and those it influenced, with all its diversity in terms of style.
There’s work from leading light Henryk Tomaszewski, who used strong and simple means of expression to create communicative, intelligent and sometimes ambiguous work, and Tadeusz Trepkowski, whose posters are rather more straightforward, according to curator Maciej Janicki of the Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina in Warsaw.
’And in the 1970s we see Pop Art and new visual strategies marking poster design – collage is used and Surrealistic elements are present. At the same time we see continuation of painterly and graphic movements.’
Jan Lenica and Wojciech Fangor were painters, others worked in newspapers and magazines or book design. Tomaszewski in particular, with his appreciation of lettering, using different fonts and composition, and a tendency to reduce graphic elements, still influences designers today.
’It was his great power,’ says Janicki. ’Tomaszewski uses simple, suggestive, metaphorical signs communicating multidimensional meanings.
The shortcuts and multidimensionality of meanings were very important for the next generations.’
Resounding Signs: Exhibition of Polish Chopin Posters 1955-2006 is on during the Plymouth Polish Festival at the Peninsula Arts Gallery, Roland Levinsky Building, Drake Circus, Plymouth, from 6 March until 24 April