Painter and creator of applied graphic art derived from the constructivist tradition. He was also interested in photomontage and experimental films.
In 1923, he graduated from the Department of Decorative Arts of the Industrial School in Kraków. Afterwards, he became involved with the avant-garde periodical Zwrotnica edited by Tadeusz Peiper. At that time, Podsadecki was preparing the now-lost works which Peiper called photoforms. These works were photos of compositions made from various objects, which may have been influenced by the concepts of Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. From 1926, he was responsible for the layout of Zwrotnica, as well as designing the typographical layout of books.
His 1924 drawings stemming from the tradition of Polish formism have been preserved. In 1926 at the first exhibition of the Praesens group, he presented eight abstract works from the years 1924-26 which testified to his original explorations of Polish constructivism. In 1928, he began to work for the Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny (IKC) company – in the weeklies Na szerokim świecie and Światowid, he published photomontages that were something between a constructivist stylization (the non-photographic elements were made from glued-on coloured paper) and a grotesque inspired by surrealism and “new photography”. He quoted important modernist photographs and films – this was unique not only for Polish constructivism but also for the European modernist art of the time, which programmatically didn’t make use of photographic quotations as such quotations were considered as likely to lead to eclecticism, and as being inconsistent with ideas about the linear development of art.
In 1932, Podsadecki participated in an international typography exhibition organized by the Łódź group a.r. which was held at the Institute of Art Propaganda in Łódź. Apart from Poles, important creators from other European countries took part in this exhibition. In the same year, he also made an important series of photo-collages, titled American America / Amerykańska Ameryka in which he criticized the capitalist social-political system. At that time, he was collaborating with Janusz Maria Brzeski in the field of cinema, and also publishing texts about the topic, such as Cinema Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow… / Film wczoraj, dziś i jutro… (Kurier Filmowy no. 44, a supplement to the November 3, 1932 issue of the daily Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny). Podsadecki played the lead role in Brzeski’s film Concrete / Beton.
In 1933, the artist realized a series of photo-collages titled That’s My Illustrated Weekly Project / A to projekt mój tygodnika ilustrowanego. One of them, the piece Women and Children / Kobiet i dzieci, refers to a photograph by the famous photojournalist Martin Munkacsi. The work Gestures / Gesty from the series references the pictures of the famous German photographer Karl Blossfeldt, who participated in the most important world exhibition of the time, which was titled Film und Foto (Stuttgart, 1929) and presented the achievements of world modernism in the fields of photography and modernist cinema.
From 1932 to 34, Podsadecki was involved with the Kraków Studio of Polish Avant-Garde Film (SPAF), where he presented a three-slide series of satirical-humorous photo-collages. The first series displayed his critical approach to Polish and international commercial movies of the time and to particular directors and actors (Profile en face). In Caricatures of Charlie / Karykatury Charliego, he positively evaluated the famous English comedian Charlie Chaplin, who was an idol for many Europe-based avant-garde artists of the time. In the third series, American America, Podsadecki strongly criticized America’s system of youth education and social relations, including racism, among others.
From 1935, Podsadecki moved away from creations stemming from the avant-garde tradition toward a position closer to colourism in painting. In that year he became a member of the Karków Trade Union of Polish Plastic Artists. He participated in the September campaign of 1939 and became a prisoner of war as a result. The Gestapo destroyed most of his creations from the constructivist period. After World War II, he moved to Szczecin, where he founded the local chapter of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers.
He returned to Kraków in 1952. In the final years of his life, he painted landscapes and still lifes conforming to a colouristic convention. The most important exhibition presenting the interwar creations of Brzeski and Podsadecki was titled Janusz Maria Brzeski, Kazimierz Podsadecki. On the Line Between Plastic Arts and Cinema / Janusz Maria Brzeski, Kazimierz Podsadecki. Z pogranicza plastyki i filmu (Janusz Zagrodzki edited this exhibition and this exhibition’s catalogue) and was held at the Museum of Art in Łódź at the turn of 1980/1981.
Podsadecki’s works may be found in the collections of the Museum of Art in Łódź, the National Museum in Kraków and the National Museum in Warsaw.
Author: Krzysztof Jurecki, The Muzeum of Art in Łódź, May 2004