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„The word may lie – but not the eye” events in Düsseldorf and Recklinghausen

As part of commemorations of the 100th anniversary of Polish avant-garde, at the Polish Institute Düsseldorf and simultaneously at the Museum Jerke in Recklinghausen, a unique expositions are being presented. They are featuring never before seen means of expression, used in the works of “interwar” (1918-1939) Polish avant-garde artists. In Düsseldorf, presented from 10th of September until 15th of December under the exhibition name “Word may lie- but never the eye. Modernity in Polish photography 1918-1939”, one can see the artists struggles with a form of expression new to them- the Photography. Experiments, search for unique shots, unusual perspective and photo-montage… all of these to surprise the observer, express the new ways of thinking and consequently, express new ways of perceiving and “displaying” reality. Industrialization, urbanization, the development of urban culture, the increasing popularity of industry employment… all of these phenomena brought new, previously unheard challenges. This new way of observance, proposed by the artists, was meant to become the language of the new era. It was created to categorize, to name and to understand this period of time.

Exposition in Recklinghausen “The word may lie- but not the eye. Modern Polish typography 1918-1939”, which can be seen from 9th of September to 15th of October this year, show currents and trends in the graphic designing of the interwar period. Among them, works by Władysław Strzemiński, the leading figure of the Polish avant-garde are being presented.

The artist was the creator of unprecedented “functional” prints. The textbook compiled by him in year 1935, titled “The Functional Print” (Druk funkcjonalny), was a lecture on the principles of the painting, sculpture and building structuring. In Strzemiński’s mind, these three fields were integrated so closely that they become one. However, in the art of print, Strzeminski argued that it was necessary to drift away from the excessively decorative form that was hindering the act of reading. The text was to be “transparent” and clear.

In his projects, Strzemiński used mostly “sans serif” letter-form which, over time, became his hallmark. He also designed his own typeface (font family).
At the exhibition one can also see examples of magazines for the elite and “niche” books from the given epoch. With their graphic design broadly accepted, they became part of visual and mass culture.

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