Polish School of Poster Art: New Generations Exhibit

Polish School of Poster Art: New Generations Exhibit
by Józef Holard, 2011

The UW Polish Studies Endowment Committee and the UW Libraries present an exhibit “Polish  School of Poster. New Generations” showcasing the art of poster from the University of Silesia. The exhibition, organized by Dr. Agata Stronciwilk, runs from May 8 to June 16 with the opening reception at 6:30 pm on May 18, 2023.

The exhibition presents 70 modern posters (created since 2000) designed by artists from different generations. It encompasses artworks created by professors, PhD candidates, and students from the Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Silesia in Katowice.

The title “Polish School of Poster Art. New Generations” suggests both continuity and change – artists recognize the impact of the history of Polish poster, drawing inspiration from this heritage; however, they also actively detach from tradition by exploring contemporary visuality and creating their own distinctive languages. Displayed posters were inspired by an array of cultural texts – cinema, music, art, and literature. A significant body of work presented at the exhibition is related to a renowned poster competition organized annually by the Institute of Fine Arts – “Jazz in the Ruins.”

Posters of the following artists are represented at the exhibition: Iwona Cichy, Józef Hołard, Grzegorz Izdebski, Tomasz Jędrzejko, Justyna Jędrysik, Tomasz Kipka, Łukasz Kliś, Sebastian Kubica, Stefan Lechwar, Marek Maciejczyk, Aleksander Orłowski, Wojciech Osuchowski, Kaja Renkas, Martyna Sobolewska, Monika Sroga, Justyna Stefańczyk and Tomasz Tobolewski.

Each of the artists on display presents their unique style – with a vast array of techniques – using photography, digital media, and traditional artistic mediums (painting, drawing, collage) to create metaphorical images that are not mere illustrations but a creative re-reading of the particular cultural text. The posters encompass various aesthetics – inspired by op-art, surrealism or XIX-century prints. This aesthetic diversity reflects the individualistic approach to teaching at the Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Silesia in Katowice – rather than searching for principles that would define the new generations of the “Polish School of Poster,” the emphasis is put on the idiosyncrasy of distinctive form, which has to be established by each artist.

Although well recognized, the term “Polish School of Poster” has also been a subject of numerous critiques. The term “school” indicates continuity and attachment to similar visual language and artistic principles, whereas the striking characteristic of Polish poster design during its post-war “golden age” was diversity, openness, and incorporation of various strategies and languages.

Dr. Agata Stronciwilk is the Fulbright scholar at the UW Slavic Department and an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of University of Silesia in Katowice. The exhibition has been curated by Dr. Agata Stronciwilk, Prof. Stefan Lechwar, and Prof. Tomasz Kipka from the University of Silesia. Support from Prof. Michael Biggins and UW Libraries made the exhibit possible.

The exhibition is available at the the Allen Library North Lobby on the UW campus in Seattle during the library opening hours.

More: UW PSEC, or please contact Dr. Stronciwilk

by RK