Born in Warsaw in 1914, Henryk Tomaszewski is considered the elder of Polish poster art. He shaped it as a graphic designer and educator at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. The exhibition will present a cross-section of his work across the genres of theatre poster, film poster, exhibition poster and poetic poster or”author poster”, which reflects the artist’s way of seeing and commenting.
One characteristic of the Polish poster was the maintenance of the active relationship with painting. The Polish poster multiplied the types of illustrations present during the avant-garde – what was limited to artist circles in the West reached the streets in Poland. The Polish poster school has always ignored the modern achievements of graphic design made in Russian Constructivism or at the Bauhaus.
Henryk Tomaszewski was influenced by caricatures from the satirical German magazine “Simplizissimus”, but also by George Grosz and John Heartfield. His rejection of norms and conventions, his sincere judgments and opinions, his sense of humour and his ability to see things from your perspective as well as his appreciation for the diversity of his students’ talents – all this led him to become a legend and attract young people not only from Poland, but from all over the world.
For him, teaching graphic design is teaching how to formulate the right decision. In many of his projects, his sense of paradox is remarkable. He is always concerned with showing things from a different side, with crossing boundaries. However, to him this has never been a question of attacking firmly established orders or of deliberately attempting to shock viewers. Tomaszewski’s posters come from another world, the world of poetry. If they can be expressed in words at all, they could be compared to nursery rhymes, adages, or aphorisms.