Find out what makes the Polish School of Posters so special…
Posters from the Polish School of Posters were produced in a unique moment in history - when posters were one of the only permitted artistic outlets by the ruling Communist state. They broke all the design conventions with their highly expressive interpretive style.
After the Second World War, under strict Soviet rule, the Polish People’s Republic suffered great repression and hardship. Yet from there sprang an explosion of creativity which lasted for decades. It peaked during the sixties and seventies when the most collectable Polish posters were designed.
Successive generations of Poland’s greatest artists and graphic designers focussed their talents into the specialist medium of posters. The State relied on this relatively cheap means of propaganda to promote the work of their Ministry of Art & Culture.
Yet instead of having to conform to a strict Communist art style, key pioneers of the Polish School of Posters forged a deal that these posters would not be subject to censorship. Indeed, once a poster was commissioned, the State encouraged the artist to create something totally unique.
The artists who had to be highly trained to stand a chance of winning a commission, were simply instructed to reject Western values. Free from commercial restraints, the artists enjoyed unprecedented creative freedom.
As a result, the Polish posters from this era are highly original, bold and witty. When you compare the posters to those being produced by Polish artists’ international peers, you can see how ground-breaking they were and ahead of their time.
The posters were printed in strict runs and never designed to be kept. Though plenty of Polish teenagers adorned their walls with this incredible art, salvaged from the streets or places like cinemas and theatres where they were displayed.
Through Projekt 26 we want to do all we can to recognise and celebrate the work of these artists - many of whom are sadly no longer alive. This extraordinary art movement is just as important as the French posters of the late 19th and early 20th century in terms of pushing and redefining this medium - but not nearly enough people know about it.
The posters retain their resonance today. They are so simple and direct - they come with an idea and are designed to talk to you. They are a tool for communication and an art form in their own right. The poster endures today as a piece of art, but the messaging is still there. They are designed to stop you in your tracks. To make you think. To make you feel. And it’s the fact that hey bring us joy and make us feel good and hopeful that we love the most.
This is such a wonderful image of a lady sticking up posters on the street.