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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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
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