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Hidden Meanings In CYRK

Hidden Meanings in CYRK

CYRK...original contemporary/vintage art posters are more than striking images created by the artistic geniuses of the world-famous Polish School of Posters - acclaimed as the best in contemporary poster art. CYRK posters are also the artists' interpretation and commentary on society, often communicating to the viewer camouflaged political and/or social messages - hidden meanings.

During the golden age of the Polish School of Posters from 1945 (the end of World War II) until 1989 (the fall of Communism), the Polish Government financially supported and encouraged poster art: sponsoring the 1st International Poster Biennale (1966) [note- the 20th Biennale was held 2006 in Warsaw], opening the world's first poster museum (1968) and treating poster artists favorably. Consequently, Polish posterists - being well-paid, highly-regarded and given much autonomy - became the spokespeople of society as their posters became the primary art form of the nation.

Spend time pondering CYRK posters! Discover the artists' and/or your own interpretation of the messages residing below the surface of the beautiful imagery! A sampling of hidden meanings in a few CYRK posters:

(Click on poster to go to other posters & info of that artist)
Baczewski, L.
#258 Poodle
Lustyk, B.
#246 Faces
Olbinski, R.
#110 Lion
Pagowski, A.
#242 Elephant
Sawka, J.
#184 Tightrope
Swierzy, W.
#200 Spy
Urbaniec, M.
#207 MonaLisa

  • #258 Baczewski, Liliana...Poodle drummer (1965) - the poodle will drum in a new era where the acrimonious society of Poland under Communism will be replaced by harmony (even the parrot & the dog will cooperate).
  • #246 Lustyk, Boguslaw...Faces in a crowd (1979) - one of the crowd is subtly insulting the Soviet leadership (Gorbachev ?).
  • #110 Olbinski, Rafal...Big tooth lion (1980) - the lion will growl until Soviet Communism departs and then the eye teeth (Polish society) will again find their home.
  • #242 Pagowski, Andrzej...Skinny elephant with big ears (1979) - the skinny elephant of the USSR should not try to wear the big beautiful ears of Poland.
  • #184 Sawka, Jan...Tightrope (1974) - the audience (Polish people) look longingly upwards towards freedom.
  • #200 Swierzy, Waldemar...Spy/Clown with newspaper (1975) - the Soviet spies are everywhere, but can be discovered (the red nose).
  • #207 Urbaniec, Maciej...Mona Lisa (1970) - ideally life as well as society should combine the sophistication of the art of the enigmatic portrait of the Mona Lisa with the simple fun of the circus.

CYRK posters also include some generic symbols: bears often represent the former Soviet Union (the Russian bear) [#233 Majewski, G. Bear playing drum (1975)/#112 Srokowski, J. Bear biking (1970)]; the use of the English word 'circus' instead of CYRK to connote a pro-Western outlook [#26 Hilscher, H. Zebra...(1979)/#171 Mlodozeniec, J. Clown...(1975)].

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