Tomorrow Was a Montage

A new exhibition at the Cooper Gallery in Dundee examines the disruptive practice of ‘montage’ in the work of three generations of Polish and Hungarian image-makers – and includes 60 posters by the legendary graphic artist, Roman Cieślewicz

Tomorrow Was a Montage features rarely seen projects by Cieślewicz, György Kovásznai, Jan Lenica and Zbigniew Rybczyński, alongside work by contemporary film and sound artist, Wojciech Bąkowski.

Roman Cieślewicz Zoom contre la pollution de l`oeil (twarz z brodą)/ Zoom against Eye Pollution 1971, sitodruk — 101,5 x 71 Atelier M. Duchamp, Combs la Ville Imprimerie Maurice Duchamp, Combs la Ville. All Roman Cieslewicz images are courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.
Roman Cieślewicz Zoom contre la pollution de l`oeil (twarz z brodą)/ Zoom against Eye Pollution 1971, sitodruk — 101,5 x 71 Atelier M. Duchamp, Combs la Ville Imprimerie Maurice Duchamp, Combs la Ville. Image at top of post: Roman Cieślewicz Ksiądz Marek, J. Słowacki/ Father Marek, play by J. Słowacki 1963 – offset. – 85.5 x 50.5cm Dramatyczny Theatre, Warsaw Wojskowe Zakłady Graficzne, Warsaw. Both courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.

Lenica’s 1963 animation Labyrinth – considered a ground-breaking political animation – will be shown alongside Rybczyński’s Tango, which won an Oscar in 1983. A screening of animation works by Kovásznai, the Hungarian painter and experimental filmmaker, is also set to take place on November 26. It is the first time Kovásznai’s work has been shown in the UK.

Roman Cieślewicz Katastrofa/ Catastrophe 1961 - offset. - 84.5 x 59cm Film Lease Headquarters (Centrala Wynajmu Filmów CWF), Warsaw Stołeczne Zakłady Graficzne, Warsaw. All Roman Cieslewicz images are courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.
Roman Cieślewicz Katastrofa/ Catastrophe 1961 – offset. – 84.5 x 59cm Film Lease Headquarters (Centrala Wynajmu Filmów CWF), Warsaw Stołeczne Zakłady Graficzne, Warsaw. Courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.

The Cooper Gallery is also showing some 60 posters by Cieślewicz, the Polish-born artist who worked as artistic director of Elle (having moved to France in 1963) and with magazine such as Vogue and Opus International.

Many of his strange and unsettling creations employed montage (the technique of bringing together several disparate elements to form a single composition) as a strategy. The result is a body of poster art that deliberately set out to shake up and shock the prevailing visual trends of the time.

Roman Cieślewicz Amnesty International 1975 - offset - 86.5 x 63cm Amnesty International, Nowy Jork MNP P1 5994 Note: This is a political poster which was part of a commission from Amnesty International USA to 80 international poster artists. All Roman Cieslewicz images are courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.
Roman Cieślewicz Amnesty International 1975 – offset – 86.5 x 63cm Amnesty International, Nowy Jork MNP P1 5994 Note: This is a political poster which was part of a commission from Amnesty International USA to 80 international poster artists. Courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.

“Montage, the practice of ‘citing without citations’ (Walter Benjamin); is never neutral or indifferent,” says an accompanying text about the show. “The intimate strangeness of montage unsettles all depictions of the world, offering an alternative image through fragments, juxtapositions, sudden illuminations, jarring proximities and a suspicion of systems.”

Roman Cieślewicz Moda Polska/ Polish Fashion 1959 - offset. - 68 x 48cm Graphic Arts Publishing House (Wydawnictwo Artystyczno‑Graficzne WAG), Warsaw Stołeczne Zakłady Graficzne, Warsaw MNP. All Roman Cieslewicz images are courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.
Roman Cieślewicz Moda Polska/ Polish Fashion 1959 – offset. – 68 x 48cm Graphic Arts Publishing House (Wydawnictwo Artystyczno‑Graficzne WAG), Warsaw Stołeczne Zakłady Graficzne, Warsaw MNP. Courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.

Tomorrow Was a Montage is on at the Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee until December 18. See dundee.ac.uk. On November 19 the gallery will be hosting a talk by Andrzej Kilmowski, graphic artist, designer and professor at the Royal College of Art in London and an expert in the history of Polish Poster School

Roman Cieślewicz [Superman] 1968 - offset. - 81.5 x 54.5 Georges Fall, Paris Imprimerie SERG, Ivry MNP P1 5155 Note:This was issued as part of a series of posters (no. 2/68) of the Opus International magazine; the same motif on the cover of Opus. All Roman Cieslewicz images are courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.
Roman Cieślewicz [Superman] 1968 – offset. – 81.5 x 54.5 Georges Fall, Paris Imprimerie SERG, Ivry MNP P1 5155 Note:This was issued as part of a series of posters (no. 2/68) of the Opus International magazine; the same motif on the cover of Opus. Courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.
Roman Cieślewicz Zawrót głowy/ Vertigo 1963 - offset. - 83.5 x 59cm Film Lease Headquarters (Centrala Wynajmu Filmów CWF), Warsaw Stołeczne Zakłady Graficzne, Warsaw. All Roman Cieslewicz images are courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.
Roman Cieślewicz Zawrót głowy/ Vertigo 1963 – offset. – 83.5 x 59cm Film Lease Headquarters (Centrala Wynajmu Filmów CWF), Warsaw Stołeczne Zakłady Graficzne, Warsaw. Courtesy of National Museum in Poznan © Roman Cieślewicz Estate / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.

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