Exhibit: "Graphic & Fine Art of Jerzy Janiszewski", Dec. 9, 2011 - Jan. 22, 2012
The Embassy of the Republic of Poland
cordially recommends to view an exhibit
The Graphic and Fine Art of Jerzy Janiszewski
presented by the
Charles Krause/Reporting Fine Art
Exhibition on display from December 9, 2011
through January 22, 2012
Open to the public on Saturday Dec. 17 and Sunday, Dec. 18
from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.
At other times, by appointment only – request a visit here
Opening reception in the presence of the artist
December 9, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
limited space, RSVP required:
Charles Krause/Reporting Fine Art
1300 13th Street NW, Suite 105
Washington, DC 20005
Poland’s most famous graphic artist, Jerzy Janiszewski created the Solidarity shipyard union’s logo in 1980 when he was only 28 years old. This powerful image, together with Lech Wałęsa, became a symbol of freedom from Communist rule, first in Poland and later in the other Warsaw Pact countries.
In addition to a rare Solidarity poster from 1980, buried underground for seven years to safeguard it from Poland’s secret police, this first exhibition of Jerzy Janiszewski’s work in the United States will include collages and other fine art by Janiszewski never before exhibited or offered for sale.
Jerzy Janiszewski was born in Płock, Poland. He graduated from Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts. In August 1980 when the strike in the Gdańsk Shipyard broke out, Mr. Janiszewski was already a professional graphic designer. Creating the “Solidarity” logo brought him international recognition. During the martial law in Poland he was invited to West Germany to take part in an exhibition. He stayed for a few months and then went to Paris to give an interview for the French television. Right after its emission, he was tasked to design a logo for a newly established publishing house. He collaborated with the editorial office for several years developing covers and illustrations. He also received a studio as a artistic grant. It was in Paris where he met Paco Ibanez who asked him to create a label for his art agency. Ibanez invited him to a long term cooperation as an author of record covers and posters. After 13 years spent in Paris, Jerzy Janiszewski decided to move back to Poland. He lived in Sopot for three years until got a message from Ibanez, inviting him to come and work with him in Barcelona. Since 2009 he lives in La Coruna and is an owner of a graphic studio TAjjER.
Works of Jerzy Janiszewski
Jerzy Janiszewski lived in Gdańsk when the strike in the Lenin’s Shipyard broke out. Therefore, he was able to witness the historical events from day one. He saw the people coming to the gate of the shipyard. Amazed by the popular enthusiasm, Janiszewski decided he wanted to help in some way as well. One word got his attention – “solidarity”. It appeared in most of the slogans painted on the shipyard’s walls, came up frequently in the conversations with his poets friends but most of all, solidarity was clearly visible in people’s actions - they would provide the striking workers with food, clothes and money. Using this single word, Janiszewski embarked on creating a poster or a logotype for the emerging movement. It did not take him long to come up with a design. His concept was clear – large, hand painted letters, written in a majuscule, calling to mind a group of people marching side by side. He brought the project to the shipyard where it was almost immediately printed on the posters, brochures and T-shirts. Soon enough it was all over the foreign media. After signing the agreement with the government “Solidarity” became the name of The Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union.
It is no accident that the author of „Solidarity” brand created the logo of Polish Presidency in the Council of European Union. It was the intention of Polish government to correlate the presidency’s symbol with the tremendous historical tradition of “Solidarity” movement. It’s symbolic value is correspondent with the significance of the event of the first Polish presidency in the Council of European Union. The visual form of the logo represents positive energy, it is dynamic and future oriented. It symbolizes the ideals of community, integration, cohesion and solidarity. The arrows joined together illustrate growth and development, while the colors are taken from the national flags of the member states. At the same time the arrows bring to mind people hand in hand, led by Poland.
While working for „Solidarity”, Jerzy Janiszewski designed countless posters, brochures and banners for demonstrations. In 1990 he was in charge of the artistic setting of the celebration of one decade of “Solidarity”. In recognition of his contribution, Janiszewski became the honorary member of “Solidarity” and received a No. 1 union card.
Over the course of his career path Mr. Janiszewski created hundreds of logotypes, posters and graphics. Among his clients were numerous companies, advertising agencies, publishing houses and syndicates, but also cities and non-governmental organizations. He worked for such institutions as BBC, Canal+, TF1, TVP, the Embassy of France in Warsaw, Amnesty International, Pompidou Centre or UNESCO.
He is also an author of many stage designs and open air installations on various occasions including Autumn Festival in Madrid in 1986, 200th Anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in Paris in 1990 or the Open Summer Festival in Sopot in 1996.
Among the awards and distinctions of Jerzy Janiszewski are: the Tadeusz Trepkowski’s Prize for a Poster of Warsaw (1977), Gdańsk Best Cultural Poster (1978), Grand Prix Biennale of Polish Poster in Katowice (1980), the Special Award of “Projekt” editorial office (1981) and the Special Award of TDC of New York (1982). In 2008 Mr. Janiszewski was decorated with the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.