Friday, December 22, 2006


Maybe six moths ago, I happened upon a huge school of art that I had no idea existed. It was meaningful to me , because a) a huge amount of the material was amazingly similar to what I was after in my own artwork in terms of tone, style and subject matter (only much more succesful) and, b) they are all Poles, as am I.
It seemed like a really meaningful synchronicity. It still does. It made it seem for a little bit that I was a part of something much bigger than myself- this connected me to a tradition of sorts, which is important to me ( not for the sake of it though- maybe I'll post about it someday.It's complicated..)
A number- maybe the majority, even, tend to depict the bizarre and fanastic ( or presnt the mundane in a fantastic light , like the dog playing soccer image below, by Zakowska.) but they tend to do so in an earthy way- sometimes it's humourous, even. They'll apply near cartoon quality; soft or bulbous shapes to depict what in more classical forms would show up as heroic or exalted or in early modern art as ultra-serious, existential; plenty of skulls, images of war, monsters, etc.
Before I start dropping links, I want to let you know that I gathered almost all of them from our own Aeron Alfrey's MONSTER BRAINS, an awesome resource. He discovered all of this stuff during the same period. You can find his list Polish poster Artists HERE.
The artists I'm posting here are but a few of the many, many odd and cool Polish Poster Artists from the 50's-80's ( maybe they're still going?)
Jakub Erol-
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Danuta Zakowska-

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-( I own a copy of this one.)

Mieczyslaw Gorowski-

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Look into it. It's good stuff.


aeron said...

There were a few of these posters that I'd seen for a while but I never realized it was part of this much larger collection of artists sharing a similar vision. It was one of my most exciting artistic discoveries to see this vast array of artwork, each image and artist stanger then the last. You know that I'm a great fan of fantastic art that carries into the dark and bizarre and to find this nest of so many artists like that, it was awesome.

I can't remember which but one of these guys did some animated films that I need to hunt down. And it always strikes me as insane that they used this artwork to advertise foreign (American) films. What a weird place to live where you can walk down the street, see a poster of a skull ripped open with boxes full of red shapes oozing out and be able to think, oh must be a new romantic comedy out.

Noah Berlatsky said...

Thanks for posting these. There's a tradition of great movie poster art in a bunch of places. I have abook of Russian film posters which are gorgeous, and I've seen some contemporary African (I believe Nigerian?) film posters which are amazing.

Human Mollusk said...

Yeah the Polish have a great tradition of surreal poster art. A couple of years ago I saw an expo dedicated to it. I hadn't been aware of it before and was totally blown away.
As far as I know Dave McKean's work is heavily influenced by polish poster art.

aeron said...

I never thought of that before but now that you mention it I do see a signinficant influence, weird. So I guess Mirror Mask is like an animated Polish Poster? I wonder if there's a Polish poster for that movie? It probably looks completely normal.

Luke P. said...

yeah, that book of Nigerian poster art is amazing. I think I saw some of it on Le Dernier Cri's site a couple of years ago.
I can see the Mckean thing too.
I'd love to know more about Polish posters. I wish there was a book..

MoonAndStar said...

I agree, there's so many striking Polish posters from that era. Like this one: .