Posters were one of Wojciech Zamecznik’s main fields of creative practice. He started making them shortly after the end of the Second World War and his most intense period of poster-making occurred between 1954 and 1970, when the best-known ones saw the daylight: movie posters for Kawalerowicz’s "Night Train" and "Mother Joan of the Angels", Wajda’s "Innocent Sorcerers" or Bergman’s "Summer with Monika"; a beautiful series of posters for the Warsaw Autumn contemporary music festival; or interesting posters for various social campaigns.

Warsaw Autumn, 1962-1965

Each of the series of posters created for the Warsaw Autumn contemporary music festival in 1962-1965 expresses – visually – musical effects. On the visual level, they loosely reference technical notations of audio phenomena: a zigzagging oscillogram amplitude (1964) or sound waves spreading in circles (1965). These attempts to render audio effects using a new visual language are important in the context of the rise of experimental electroacoustic music to prominence and its firm establishment in the mid-1960s on the Polish contemporary music scene and at the Warsaw Autumn festival. Many of Zamecznik’s contemporaries remember his keen interest in music, and various metaphors connected with music writing and the musical imagination have been used to describe his work. The following quote by Eryk Lipiński is from the catalogue of Zamecznik’s monographic exhibition at the National Museum in Warsaw (1968): ‘... like an experienced accompanist, he does not drown out the soloist, does not repeat, but rather provides a counterpoint, creating an atmosphere without illustrating’.
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Remembering, 1967

In 1967, the Monument to the Victims of Fascism was unveiled in Brzezinka (Birkenau). Zamecznik’s poster was part of the nationwide event. Low-key, reduced to lettering on a black background, Zamecznik deformed the word ‘Remembering’ and coloured it red. The simple gesture of deforming the letters serves as reference to the mechanisms of human memory, as it transforms and distorts the past. Remembering and its form, closer to everyday experience, only approximates the truth of past events.
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Posters' reproductions

Wojciech Zamecznik carefully documented his work, sticking the photographic reproductions of his posters onto A4-format sheets of white paper. The year of the making has been marked on each reproduction, but it is not clear whether by Zamecznik himself or his wife, Helena. The majority of the presented works are movie posters for Polish, Soviet, Italian, Yugoslavian, Czechoslovak and later also British and Swedish productions currently in distribution. There are also exhibition posters, including for the famous "The Family of Man" (National Theatre, Warsaw, 1959), as well as occasional posters for various important state celebrations (e.g. "Polish Navy Day", 1956). Made between 1949 and 1966, the posters show a changing share of photography and the gradual introduction of formal experiments: multiplications, negative inversions, magnifications. Always, however, they are, as Eryk Lipiński once wrote, organized by two or three elements, a combination of visual sign and photography.
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Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, 1963

The cover of an LP featuring three pieces – Krzysztof Penderecki’s "Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima" (1960), Grażyna Bacewicz’s "Music for Strings, Trumpets, and Percussion" (1958) and Artur Malawski’s "Symphonic Etude" (1948) – has been designed for Polskie Nagrania Muzyczne, the state music publisher. Zamecznik made preliminary sketches using two different procedures; in the first, he produced a study of smoke-like negative-reproduced light effects. The second procedure – probably painting prints with developer – obtained Zamecznik the image that made it to the record’s cover. The work won the Golden Chestnut at the 2nd Polish Packaging Competition (Warsaw, 1964).
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Circus, 1963

Circus posters are an almost separate branch of poster art. Many were made in the 1950s and 1960s, giving artists the opportunity to experiment with form. In Wojciech Zamecznik’s collection has been preserved a series of photographic enlargements showing, step by step, the process of arriving at a poster’s final form. Starting with a slightly blurry image of circus artists on a trapeze, through its rotation and doubling, to a final mock-up with the word ‘circus’ handmade in poster paint.
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Polish music, 1963

A poster to promote Polish music abroad is a composition based on the motif of the conductor’s hands emerging from a black background. The final effect is a visually manipulated positive montage of baton-holding hands with a succession of hand images produced by moving a static image under the enlarger. The photographic tests for this poster are an interesting study of the possibilities of representing movement on a flat surface, especially in the context of the film opening sequences designed by Zamecznik, some in collaboration with Jan Lenica. The poster’s alternative version is a photomontage of Helena Zamecznikowa’s face and some scribbled-down musical notation.
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Polish painting, 1959

The poster for the "Poolse Schilderkunst van nu" [Polish painting now] exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1959) is a rare example in Zamecznik’s practice of a raw painting gesture. The Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts yearbook for 1974 quotes him as saying: ‘I view art a bit like the production of machines, the construction of buildings. I try to use prefabricated elements, as it were, such as type, and other ready-made forms. The brush I use least often’.
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Mother Joan of the Angels

A series of posters/display charts featuring the major characters from Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s film (Lucyna Winnicka as Mother Joan and Mieczysław Voit as Father Suryn), created in connection with its submission to the 14th Cannes Film Festival in 1961, where it won the Special Jury Prize. Zamecznik combined manipulated film stills here with hand-coloured elements. He was also the author of the film’s opening credits sequence.
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VIII OWF, 1959_

The poster for the 8th Polish Photography Exhibition (VIII OWF) is an experiment with light; the effect has been achieved by either taking long-exposure shots of a moving flashlight, or by photographing an illuminated, swinging tripod grip. The photographs from the series were also shown by Zamecznik as standalone works, presented, among other places, at the OWF shows.
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