Ken Sequin’s Polish adventure

In 1964 Ken Sequin – then a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art and later to become a renowned illustrator and designer – went behind the Iron Curtain to interview Czech and Polish poster designers.

J Mlodozeniec - 20 years of the Polish Arena - A Jubilee Pagent - Circus Production
J Mlodozeniec – 20 years of the Polish Arena – A Jubilee Pagent – Circus Production

Sequin had been awarded the annual RCA travelling scholarship to continue his research project into the Eastern European animators and poster designers he admired.

Jerzy Flisak - Where is the General? - A comedic film about the war
Jerzy Flisak – Where is the General? – A comedic film about the war

As well as meeting the designers, Sequin returned to the UK with a haul of film poster designs from the likes of Jan Lenica, Roman Chiesewicz and Waldemer Swierzy.

Marian Stachurski - The Man from the First Century - A fantastic picture of the future - A Czechoslovakian film
Marian Stachurski – The Man from the First Century – A fantastic picture of the future – A Czechoslovakian film

Sadly, over the years, Sequins collection was depleted by theft and fire, but the remnants are being gathered for a new show at London’s Kemistry Gallery.

Marian Stachurski - Christmas Eve feast - A satirical Spanish Film
Marian Stachurski – Christmas Eve feast – A satirical Spanish Film

The posters will be exhibited alongside a vivid narrative account of Sequin’s 1960s Polish journey.

Roman Cieslewicz - Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo
Roman Cieslewicz – Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo

Sequin, according to the gallery, considers the early 1960s to have been the high point of Polish poster design, before a decline in the use of hand-drawn letterforms and an increasing influence of Psychedelia led to a drop in quality.

Waldemar Swierzy - The General - A film comedy
Waldemar Swierzy – The General – A film comedy

You can judge by yourself by comparing Sequin’s selection, pictured here, with some of the later Polish works that were exhibited as part of Protein Gallery’s poster show in 2012.

Waldemar Swierzy - If Only the Apple Trees Blossomed - Theatre production
Waldemar Swierzy – If Only the Apple Trees Blossomed – Theatre production

Ken Sequin’s Polish Adventure is at Kemistry Gallery, 43 Charlotte Road, London EC2A, from 20 February-22 March.

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