Communist-era Polish film posters

In Communist-era Poland, the state-controlled theatre and film institutions would commission artists to create alternative posters for Western films and plays, as the originals were deemed inappropriate.

Smierc W Wenecji (Death in Venice) by Maria Ihnatowicz, 1971
Smierc W Wenecji (Death in Venice) by Maria Ihnatowicz, 1971

Some of the country’s leading artists and designers were brought in… with one small catch.

Czarna Komedia, by Franciszek Starowieyski, 1969
Czarna Komedia, by Franciszek Starowieyski, 1969

Often they weren’t able to see the film, or have any visual reference, when creating the posters, which often resulted in some rather off-the-wall imagery.

Budowniczy Solness (The Master Builder) by Waldemar Swierzy, 1971
Budowniczy Solness (The Master Builder) by Waldemar Swierzy, 1971

Now a selection of these works – including posters created for Polish-written films and plays and collected by Eye Sea Posters – is to be exhibited in London’s Protein Gallery.

Harem by Andrzej Krajewski, 1971
Harem by Andrzej Krajewski, 1971

Works by designers including Wiktor Gorka, Waldemer Swierzy and Franciszek Starowieyski will be on show and on sale, and Scot Bendall from La Boca will be creating a special limited-edition tribute screenprint.

Wahadlo by Zygmunt Bobrowski, 1971
Wahadlo (Pendulum) by Zygmunt Bobrowski, 1971

Iluzjon: A Celebration of Polish Cinema and Poster Design, is at Protein Gallery, 18 Hewett Street, London EC2, from 19-29 October.

Klute by Jan Mlodozeniec, 1973
Klute by Jan Mlodozeniec, 1973

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