Print Control, Culture.pl's annual bilingual publication, presents a current overview of printed design from Poland. Agnieszka Sural brings you her selection of the 15 most important projects created between 2014-2015 out of the hundreds featured in its fourth edition.
Polish Design Posters
This is a limited edition series of collector’s posters about Polish design. Each copy was created by a leading illustrator and designer, including Edgar Bąk, Katarzyna Bogucka, Dominik Cymer, Małgorzata Gurowska, Monika Hanulak, Jakub Jezierski, Paweł Jońca, Patryk Mogilnicki, and Dawid Ryski. The posters accompany exhibitions of Polish design at the most prestigious international events of the genre such as Design Week in Milan and the WantedDesign festival in New York. Publisher: Culture.pl, 2015.
Jan Bajtlik – Mister D
Jan Bajtlik created the poster for the last concert of Mister D – a musical project by the novelist and writer Dorota Masłowska. Her first album entitled Społeczeństwo jest niemiłe (Editor’s translation: Society is Unkind) is an explosive mix of rap, punk, and dance music, with lyrics put together out of a collage of articles published in popular press.
Masłowska the vocalist is still Masłowska the writer. She experiments, provokes, and she’s an amateur constantly balancing on the verge of kitsch. Gold chains, see-through T-shirts, shiny puffy coats, and bright lipstick. Very much like in her novels, Masłowska points to the emptiness of this reality through language. And it is her incredible talent for juggling words that continues to be her biggest asset.
– writes Robert Sankowski in Gazeta Wyborcza magazine.
Karol Banach and Erna Rosenstein – Fables
A special publication with little-known works by the late Erna Rosenstein, a prominent surrealist painter and poet, was released 10 years after her death. The stories found in the artist’s home archives depict a world affected by the trauma of war. The extraordinary character of these short written forms is further underscored by Karol Banach’s illustrations. The book was designed by Ryszard Bienert. Publisher: Wydawnictwo Warstwy, 2015.
Jakub de Barbaro – Artist Novels
Is there a difference between books written by writers, and those written by artists? For a few years, curator Joanna Zielińska and Spanish artist David Maroto conducted a research project entitled The Book Lovers wherein they approached the novel as an artform. Many examples of this kind of activity can be found throughout the 20th century, but only recently, during the past two decades, the novel has become a hugely popular form among artists of other genres. Zielińska and Maroto decided to publish a book devoted to this trend – a trend which has, according to the authors, hitherto gone unnoticed. Publisher: Sternberg Press, Cricoteka, 2015.
Dominik Cymer / Cyber Kids on Real – Szum
Szum, one of the most important magazines about art, is regularly released in two different versions: a quarterly paper edition and a regularly updated online version. The new layout of the printed magazine was designed by Dominik Cymer from the Cyber Kids on Real studio. Publisher: Fundacja Kultura Miejsca, 2015.
Robert Czajka – Archi.TEXTURES: The Buildings of Post-war Warsaw
This is a book for children and youth designed by Marlena Hapach, which uses the pop-up technique in order to acquaint readers with three-dimensional versions of the most significant buildings in Warsaw. Among those ‘on display’ in the book are the Palace of Culture and Science, the Parliament of the Republic of Poland, the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising, the National Stadium, and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Publisher: Warsaw Uprising Museum, 2015
Fontarte – All the Brutes
One of the most interesting contemporary painters displays his paintings not only in galleries and museums, but also transfers them as separate projects into printed publications. All the Brutes is a series of paintings by Radek Szlaga released in a small booklet under the same title, and designed by Fontarte. Inspired by characters and motifs from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Szlaga’s works are accompanied by an interview with the artist conducted by Harlan Leby, as well as a text from Sam Stevenlynck. Publisher: Fontarte Editions, 2015.
Patryk Hardziej – Polskie Graphic Signs
Polish Graphic Signs is a book which presents some 50 logos by 50 different designers from 1946 through to 1996. Some of the names include Roman Duszek, Jan Hollender, Emilia Nożko-Paprocka, Karol Śliwka and Franciszek Winiarski. ‘Many of the logos and signs on Polish streets that we still see today (or were able to see until recently) actually originate in the second half of the 20th century. The publication is devoted to designs created during this period’, the authors say. The publication was created by Patryk Hardziej as part of his diploma work at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. Publisher: self-published, 2014.
Michał Kaczyński – The Palace in Warsaw
Since the 1980s, Professor Waldemar Baraniewski has been conducting research on what is probably the most unusual building ever raised on Polish territory. For the 50th birthday of the Palace of Culture and Science, the Raster gallery – which is run by Baraniewski’s former students – has published the body of his research in the form of a book. Stories about architecture and the building’s various vicissitudes are accompanied by photos from photographer and graphic designer Błażej Pindor. Publisher: Galeria Raster, 2014. According to the commentary included in Print Control:
The photo-album part of this book is the first attempt at interpreting space within and around the Palace in such an artistically diligent fashion. It is a cunning analysis of the relations that a spectator is drawn into by this architecture – whose style is dominating, over-sized, concentrated on itself, overly decorative, and yet at the same somewhat raw and alluring.
Kuchar Swara – Futu Magazine
Futu Magazine is one of the most important magazines about design, business and technology which presents interviews with top designers, introduces outstanding theories and technological achievements, as well as new phenomena, innovations and reports from Polish production plants. The layout of Futu Magazine was re-designed by Kuchar Swara. Publisher: Wojciech Ponikowski, 2015.
Marian Misiak, Przemek Dębowski – Paneuropa, Kometa, Hel: Sketches in the History of Lettering Design in Poland
Do we think about the shape of letters that we read? What about their history? Design historian Agata Szydłowska together with typographer and designer Marian Misiak decided to write a book about how seemingly neutral letters often hide fascinating histories, great debates, and heated conflicts. Publisher: Karakter, 2015.
Rafał Milach, Anna Nałęcka – The Winners
Rafał Milach's photobook, The Winners, documents the Polish photographer's encounters with the propaganda of the Belarusian regime, the last communist dictatorship in Europe. These tragicomic photographs depict winners of all kinds of contests organised by the authorities, such as the competition for the best guard dog of the borderland territories, Miss Belarusian Railways, the best milker in kolkhoz and the best… double of Jennifer Lopez.
The red cover of The Winners includes two texts. A fragment of lyrics from a song by Xenia Degelko, a Belarusian radio star who performs as DJ Xenia, rapping about faith and praising Belarusian reality and stability. The other text is the so-called 111 Decree, established by Lukashenko in order to propagate state ideology. Implemented on February 20th, 2004, it installs the compulsory post of either a head or a department of ideology in any enterprise with more than 150 workers. As part of the Decree, high schools and institutions of higher education opened up special courses in ideology. Publisher: GOST, 2014.
Marian Misiak – the Maria1 font
Upon invitation from Oskar Zięta’s design studio, Marian Misiak, created the FIDU Alphabet in collaboration with Paulina Sikorska, Albert Nogala, and Paweł Rossner. Maria1 is the first typeface to be designed with the FIDU technology of blowing up steel. Misiak is also the author of the new visual identity for the zieta.pl website. Client: Zięta Prozessdesign, 2015. According to Print Control:
Because the symbols used in the new system make up a unique collection of three-dimensional objects, typographical issues had to be resolved with respect to factors such as kerning, scale, and production possibilities.
Błażej Pindor – Warsaw Springs
The artistic duo of Michael Meier and Christoph Franz draw attention to a slowly disappearing element of urban infrastructure – their book is devoted to the small architectural forms that house sources of free Oligocene water – ‘better than stuff from the tap.’ There are about 100 venues of this kind which opened up across Warsaw throughout the 1990s. For a long time, people carrying blue 5-litre water containers were a regular element of the urban landscape.
Today, the quality of tap water has significantly improved, and the small spring-source buildings are being shut down, slowly falling into ruin. The publication accompanied an installation entitled Zdrój wody oligoceńskiej (Oligocene Water Spring), which Meier and Franz placed in the park in front of the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art. Publishers: Fundacja Bęc Zmiana, Ujazdowski Castle CCA, 2015.
Kuba Sowiński – VeryGraphic: Polish Designers of the 20th Century
This was the first such huge publication devoted to Polish Design of the 20th century. Among the 64 designers that the book introduces are figures renowned for changing the path of Polish design as well as authors known only for one particular work. The cover of the book has been hand-made with a variation of colours, making each copy unique. Publisher: Culture.pl, 2015.
Krzysztof Stryjewski – Avant-garde Music of the Late 20th century: A Beginner’s Guide
Marcin Borchardt’s book is a guide to avant-garde music for everyone. The voluminous publication is devoted to revolutionary phenomena in the creation and reception of music after the Second World War. Among the pioneers of 20th century avant-garde music and authors of electronic music described in the book are John Cage, Pierre Schaeffer, Edgar Varèse and the most important composers of American minimalism, such as: La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Publisher: Wydawnictwo w Podwórku, 2014.
Sources: Print Control no. 4, publisher’s materials, own materials.
Edited by Agnieszka Sural, 31/03/2016
Translation by Paulina Schlosser, 12/04/2016