Curator: Krzysztof Białowicz
The eleventh edition of the International Plaster Festival of Graphic Design takes posters as its subject matter, thus going all the way back to the Festival’s first edition when it was named the International Festival of Poster and Typography. Following the ever expanding formula of graphic design, which remains the main reference point for all Plaster events, the name was changed in 2018. For eleven years, the Festival has consistently confronted Polish graphic design with trends currently observed in this artistic domain in Europe and worldwide. This year, we have a chance to explore it against the background of French art.
The Festival embraces two individual exhibitions, one overview exposition and one thematic show. Two icons of French posters will present their work at CoCA – Alain Le Quernec and Michel Bouvet. Comprehensive monographic displays on CoCA’s ground floor will provide the audience with an opportunity to view two very dynamic and mutually contrasting approaches to graphic design. In Alain Le Quernec’s pieces, photography processed in many ways occupies the central position. His posters announce cultural events, but also touch upon social attitudes, manners and political questions. Le Quernec has chosen not to produce adverts, committing himself to totally independent reviews of current world affairs. Michel Bouvet is first and foremost a drawer – his works consist of vibrant illustrations, frequently supplemented with hand-made typography, offering interpretations of eminent theatre plays and operas, contemporary cinema and creative stances. A blaze of colour, clear contours, wit and anecdote go well with strong and intuitive typefaces.
Each edition of the Festival gives special prominence to the promotion of young creators active in graphic design. The F1 exhibition, displayed on CoCA’s terrace, takes its name from car races, dynamics and modernity, but it also begins with the same letter as the name of the designers’ home country. The presented posters have been produced by students of several French art schools, including the EPSAA in Paris, the L’école de Design Nantes Atlantique and the École supérieure d’art des Pyrénées. Examining such themes as “Fake news,” “Borders” or “Paris in Music,” the works were created during regular classes as well as workshops conducted by distinguished professionals.
Consistent with the French context, the Polish accent is provided by the Three Musketeers open-air project, prepared especially for the eleventh edition of the Plaster Festival. Its authors – Łukasz Kliś, Sebastian Kubica and Tomasz Tobolewski – have made a set of 40 large-format posters devoted to French cinema. Elevator to the Gallows, Emmanuelle or Fantomas are among the cult films that have gained a new image ensuing from the artists’ interpretations, offering an answer to the question of whether the two countries represented at the Festival cross-refer to each other in the area of creative expression. For many years, the Polish/French relationship in the field of graphic design has been very intense, emanating mutually inspiring energy.