2010 – 2016

Ryszard Kaja 2011
Ryszard Kaja
Bartosz Tymosiewicz 2014
Bartosz Tymosiewicz
Cyprian Koscielniak 2016
Cyprian Koscielniak
  Since 1989, the world of Polish posters has undergone a sort of revolution. At the forefront of this movement is Ryszard Kaja, one of the country’s most successful and prolific contemporary artists. His most recent series, simply entitled “Poland” has become one the most popular poster projects in the last decade. The series, begun in 2012, highlights Poland’s major cities (Wroclaw, Gdansk, Lodz) as well towns and regions of less renown. Kaja focuses on tiny rural towns, forests (Biebrza), mountains (Sniezka, Bieszczady, Tatry), resort towns (Sopot, Swinoujscie, Krynica Gorska, Zakopane), industrial centers (Katowice, Nowa Huta, Plock), centers of Polish craft (Boleslawiec, Koniakowo, Zalipie). Contrary posters of the earlier part of the 20th century, Kaja’s posters depict more informal representations of city and place. In the past, posters depicting cities and regions highlighted monuments, landmarks, or folk culture. Most often they were created for a foreign audience to tourism and recreation. In contrast, Kaja’s series was not commissioned by a tourism agency; rather, it was derived from the artist’s personal initiative. Poles are the series’ target audience.   In this series Kaja chooses unexpected objects and themes to identify places but known and unfamiliar. For example, for the posters of major cities, Kaja opted against depicting the most well known landmarks. Picturesque Wroclaw is depicted by the needlelike “Iglica” sculpture in front of the Centennial Hall (built by the Germans in the 19th century). Lodz’s poster alludes to the city’s renowned art museum. Instead of Neptune’s fountain, Kaja chose the less attractive shipyard cranes for Gdansk. These choices are a clear departure from the tourism posters of the past. Rather than advertising cities as attractions, Kaja uses markers that most likely only Poles would identify. In a way, many of these posters are a riddle. What is the connection between Krosno and hot air balloons? Only upon further investigation does one find that Krosno is home to the International Hot Air Balloon Festival each year. Other posters are more abstract. For example, “Boleslawiec” shows just white dots on a blue background, echoing the city’s famous ceramic designs. “Ursynow”, a district of Warsaw, is just a series of bunched black rectangles, resembling the crowded rows of apartment buildings.