In times that were hard for advertising, he prepared brochures, calendars and posters for Orbis, Coopexim, Tonpress, the House of Books, Cepelia, LOT, the Trade Office of the Music Industry and Skórimpex. Contrast is the key to his posters - contrast of colour, texture, composition through the juxtaposition of heavy elements with light ones in a meticulous balance.
Jodłowski attended the Artistic Industry School in Kraków during the occupation. Later he studied Graphics at the Higher Plastic Arts School in the same city (until 1948). He also studied set design. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków in 1951. Two years later he moved to Warsaw, where he worked as an teaching assistant and later an assistant professor at professor Henryk Tomaszewski's workshop. He lectured at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and in Kraków. Currently he is a professor at the Private Secondary Drama School at the Silesian Theatre.
He worked with the Artistic-Graphic Publishing House, National Publishing Agency and with the Polish Plastic Artists' Association. He was the artistic director of such periodicals as: Przegląd Kulturalny, Made in Poland and Almanach Polonii. He also illustrated books for children and young adults. His posters have been shown at exhibitions in Poland and worldwide - in Vienna, 1962; Washington, 1964; Helsinki, 1969; Berlin, 1973; Hannover, 1978; Moscow, 1990, Prague, 1990; repeatedly in the Poster Biennale in Brno.
At the International Poster Biennale in Warsaw, Jodłowski debuted at the first edition in 1966 with the unusual poster "Macbeth" (1965), which shocked portraying an deformed human chest attached to a sword-spine. At the 5th IPB he presented a 1974 exhibition poster "Gustaw Zemła" - structured around axes, using a repeated motif of a human figure diminishing towards the bottom - and a poster incorporating a mirror image - "Filenis" designed for the Grand Theatre in Łódź. In both posters the artist exercised multiplying motifs, which increased the drama of the representation.
Jodłowski also designed posters for children's theatres. These compositions are funny, dedicated to children, but never infantile thanks to a mature, bold technique. "Grymasela" from 1964 presents an essence of these qualities: the composition has an ellipsoid form and is emphasised by white elements that shine from the background. The poster is a result of combining playful painting with a strong gesture, cut-outs and a calligraphic Easter egg. A massive, vividly red bull facing the viewer holds between its horns a sulky little girl - the child's favourite mix of terrifying and exciting.
The green reptile from the poster "Cathy and the Crocodile" (1962) has a similar fairytale look. In his children's posters Jodłowski uses various techniques with ease: "What Time Is It?" (1964) is a futuristic collage based on the opposition heavy - light, which uses contrasts between colours that don't match. The poster "Highwaymen of Cardamom" (1975) brings to mind the "sprinkled" posters of the interwar period. The "Three Musketeers" from 1971 is a cut-out, rhythmic counting rhyme.
The artist also designed propaganda posters. In this field he achieved extraordinary effects thanks to bold compositions. "22nd of July" is clearly divided into two halves: light and heavy. "The Thousand-Year Anniversary of the Polish State" has a positive message: massive, cubistic forms lightened by a division into fields of white and red and the juicy green of the leaves is a break from typically nationalist symbols. The poster "We Keep Watch" from 1955 emanates warmth thanks to the yellow flame of the rye. Even the monumental, built using extremely heavy forms "Peace to the World - Freedom to the People" from 1959 breathes lightly thanks to the waving red fabric in the bottom.
In dealing with sports and music-related topics, Jodłowski skillfully portrays movement, dance and music. He uses after-shot motion ("10th Jubilee International Team Sabre Tournament"), rhythm and accents ("Warsaw Autumn", 1964), moved photography ("Polish Book Exhibition in Hungary" from 1962, with a subtle, geometrical accent).
He peeks at the old masters and the aesthetics of various eras. In "Paris sur Glace" (1962) the illustration has a priority over the text. It's a method often used by Jules Chéret (for instance in "Pippermint", 1900) - his models' legs barged into the blocks of text, drawing them aside. Touching and tightly filling the format's measurements by the model has for long been a well-known style in posters. Cut-out figures, adjusting their poses to the poster's rectangular shape bring to mind silhouette cut-outs by Henri Matisse. Jodłowski also eagerly uses art nouveau motifs: he paints peacocks' feathers, spiders, flies, women-butterflies ("Anna Karenina", 1979; "Parisian", 1976; "Madame Bovary", 1968) and stylishly positions the models. Surreal hybrids are characters from his computer collages from the beginning of the 21st century. These are dangerous and mysterious figures: the woman-butterfly and the woman-hawk.
Jodłowski also designed many circus posters. "Circus" from 1963 depicts a slanting tiger, which leads the viewer's eyes upwards, right to the edge of the format, to the bright flash of the teeth. The background is formed by a construction from letters. The word "circus" is multiplied in the lower part - out of which the animal is springing. The tiger's tail is moving the title word to the right. The letters become an artistic matter, they have their balance and in the process tell a story. "Circus" from 1967 merges techniques: from above the lion's head a comic-book rises out of a cloud of cut-out letters, dwarves and animals, with elements of constructivism and pop art. Many of Jodłowski's posters from the seventies incorporate a new 'psychedelic' aesthetic. They playfully use linear, fluent drawings filled with flat patches of vivid colour.
At that time Jodłowski operated with ease within photography, which he coloured ("What Time Is It?", 1964; "Signalman Day", 1976), juxtaposing it with flat vector objects as in the exquisite, silver poster for "International Collaboration in Space Research" designed for the Museum of Technology in Warsaw from 1975 or in "We Read Soviet Press" from 1969. Jodłowski's posters strike the viewer with their vivid, lively colours. Bright, contrasting juxtapositions that in another context might be jarring, here become a source of artistic strength. Elements that push one another out of place, the clear shift of the posters' axis from the middle - put the motifs in motion, stimulate a dialogue between them and render them interdependent.
At the turn of 2004 the Test Gallery in Warsaw held a retrospective exhibition entitled Tadeusz Jodłowski - a little different, which presented the artist's collages made from photographs, computer prints, texts and gouaches. In 2010 the Wilanów Poster Museum prepared a retrospective exhibition Tadeusz Jodłowski. Posters.
Jodłowski has received a number of prizes, including the prestigious Tadeusz Trepkowski WAG award. In 1956 his poster "Melbourne 1956" was distinguished at the National Olympic Art Contest. His dynamic "10th Jubilee International Team Sabre Tournament" work received a distinction at the competition for the best poster in Warsaw (1964).
Author: Sylwia Giżka, November 2010. Translated by Marek Kępa, December 2011.