Saturday, 17 July 2010

Roman Cieślewicz

(above image taken from Life website, thanks Life website!)

Nothing is new is a tireless adage.

Polish graphic designer and art director Roman Cieslewicz (b.1930-d.1996) managed to achieve almost everything visually I have ever tried to do, some 20 years before I was even born.

The work of many design icons/iconoclasts (and almost every single gig poster ever made) - from Brody to Victore to Reid to Kruger to Chantry - probably would not even exist without Cieslewicz having paved the way for proto-postmodern design during the mid 50s and 60s. By surrounding himself with artists (often surrealists) yet remaining grounded in graphics and dedicated to the beauty of print, Cieslewicz was able to take diverse influences and put them through his own visual blender, creating design for cultural industries and institutions that was keen to shake cages and ruffle feathers. However, what separates Cieslewicz from any of the (phenomenal) designers and art directors mentioned above is his timing. Brody, Victore, Reid, Kruger and Chantry are products of postmodernism: spinning punk 7"s or kicking against consumerism to carve out their art, Cieslewicz generated design that did these things before they were even thought of.

You can see the Roman Cieslewicz exhibition at the Royal College of Art until the 7th of August. It's free, so you would have to be literally insane not to go!

(Also, I apologise for the occasionally shaky iphone photos!)

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