50’s COMMUNISM AND THE COLORADO POTATO BEETLE

FSO Syrena Sport

Have you ever heard of ‘the potato beetle propaganda’ in the 1950’s?

So, here in Poland people were led to believe the nasty Americans dropped their potatoes beetles from their planes over East Germany and this invasion of the beetles, later on, spread to Poland too. These invaders had to be exterminated with Azotox, a very toxic detergent, which is more dangerous to the human body than the beetle itself (just an extra bit of protein on potatoes). Sounds a bit like the Irish Potatoes Famine, doesn’t it? Fortunately, here in Poland, it did not kill half of the population. The purpose of it was to distract the nation from the evil temptations of Western culture, the moral crisis and the wicked influence that it could have on the peaceful, idyllic Eastern Bloc. But, underneath the carpet, much more horrifying things were happening here, but secretly.

My mother at the time was a little girl and still remembers the aggressive insect attack, the smell of Azotox she had to spread on the American Colorado beetles that were creeping on the potatoes leaves. Apparently, older people have never seen those nasty insects before and without the extermination, there would be nothing left of the potatoes crop that year. I am left not knowing what to think. There is a bit of truth in every gossip, they say. Fake news and false flag operation is not a recent invention!

The 1950s in Eastern Europe was the period when Communism took a heavy toll on all. While listening to older people who lived through those difficult years I built certain images in my head. I am under the impression most of the time it was dark and very cold, people were frightened and very poor. After Stalin’s death in the 1953 very tight control of the information from the West loosened up. The New Style Look reached Poland in the mid-1950s followed by the desire for self-expression. Under the tragedy & comedy mask of Communism, interesting ideas started to appear in Polish design.

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Beauty every day for everyone. Good patterns of mass production are economic value. Good patterns are also cultural value ~ Wanda Telakowska

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At first, it was the engineers and constructors coming up with the new innovative design ideas. Later on, the industries started to employ young graduates from art schools. I have to admit, only recently through a Polish patriotic fashion brand ‘Red is Bad I found how cool some of those objects were. I believe I am one of many who is only now getting an education on creative Polish minds behind those designs. The new trend of Proud Poland has reached this land in recent years.

 


 

Cezary Nawrot – Polish industrial designer, a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and the creator of FSO Syrena Sport. Fans of motoring in Europe were delighted with this model. The body of the car was made of plastic, which was based on a self-supporting floor plate. Under the very low mask of the Syrena Sport, there was a prototype two-cylinder, four-stroke boxer engine developing the power of about 35 HP. The drive was moved to the front axle using a four-speed gearbox. The novelty was the hydraulic clutch drive and shift lever in the floor. Weighing about 700 kg, the coupe accelerated to a maximum speed of 110 km/h.

FSO Syrena Sport
FSO Syrena Sport

Although it was known from the very beginning that Syrena Sport is only a test platform of new solutions and technologies and that it will not enter the general production, it was not without pressure from the press and motoring enthusiasts to start even a short production series. The management of FSO was forced to end the work on Syrena Sport and to hide the only prototype.

The car, unfortunately, did not agree with the socialistic reality as an apparently it aroused the desire for the Western lifestyle. A dozen years later it was destroyed along with other projects to free the garage space. To this day, Syrena Sport is considered the most beautiful project of the Polish automotive industry. In 1962, the English showed the world the Triumph Spitfire model, which is reminiscent of Siren Sport. (source: bit.ly/2FNpKL9)

FSO Syrena Sport
FSO Syrena Sport

Instead of driving Syrena Sport, Polish roads were led by its ugly sister. Today, it is treated by cars lovers as a vintage automobile and often is used as a wedding car. Who would think! Whole fifty years later it got a new life! Through an appreciation of the present generation, it receives love, respect and dignity.

Syrena, Polish car designed in 1950s
Syrena, Polish car designed in the 1950s

POLISH DESIGN 1950’s

‘Furniture does not have to be attractive, formally expansive. Our life is rich enough not to complicate it with the forms of residential interiors’ ~ said Maria Chomentowska, an exceptional Polish furniture designer, creator of furniture icons for Polish design, the employee of the Institute of Industrial Design in the years 1951-1977. Chomentowska created about 200 design projects.

Char 'Spider' by Maria Chomentowska, 1956
Chair ‘Spider‘ by Maria Chomentowska, 1956
Chair 'Lungs' by Maria Chomentowska, 1956
Chair ‘Lungs’ by Maria Chomentowska, 1956

LUBOMIR TOMASZEWSKI

‘When I find twisted branches in a forest, I always have an impression that they talk about the battle with nature and life’s strength. My job is to add the rest of the story in the visual language~ Lubomir Tomaszewski, founder of Emotionalist Movement and remarkable Polish designer of the post-war period.

Designers such as Tomaszewski did not know the current work of foreign designers simply because they did not have access to it. They were aware of their ignorance of porcelain manufacturing technology and poor technical facilities in Polish factories. Knowing about these limitations, sculptors decided to experiment. Thanks to this, unique and original works could have been created. Everything was an experiment. Adventure with design began with small figures, individual forms were easier to enter into production than entire sets. In addition, the short series gave the opportunity to test the market and check the reaction to the product. Figures were to ensure financial liquidity, high sales were aimed at. (source: bit.ly/2CLo0kH)

 

 

Lubomir Tomaszewski, 'Camel', 1957
Lubomir Tomaszewski, ‘Camel’, 1957
Lubomir Tomaszewski, 'Roe deer', 1958
Lubomir Tomaszewski, ‘Roe deer’, 1958

 

‘PICASSY’ MIECZYSŁAW NARUSZEWICZ

Polish glass and ceramic designer, creator of original figurines that were remarkably expressive in their form and charming to their audience particularly his animal figurines, which offered an element of surrealism and surprise. Since 1958, Mieczyswław Naruszewicz together with Lubomir Tomaszewski were employed by Institute of Industrial Design. They worked on Ćmielów Figures sculptural ceramics created in Poland in between 1950-1960.

Mieczysław Naruszewicz, 'Panther', 1958
Mieczysław Naruszewicz, ‘Panther’, 1958
Mieczysław Naruszewicz, 'Żubr', 1957
Mieczysław Naruszewicz, ‘Żubr’, 1957
Mieczysław Naruszewicz, 'Turkey', 1956,
Mieczysław Naruszewicz, ‘Turkey’, 1956

All images are linked to the original sources.

Recommended pages to visit: desa.pl muzeumwarszawy.pl  culture.pl/en  meblostan.pl iwp.com.pl as.cmielow.com.pl

Written by: Aleksandra Walkowska

A. Walkowska

TEXTILES, PATTERNS AND FASHION, NCAD

FASHION DESIGN IN NCAD

Fashion Design aims to educate students to become professional practitioners in the field of fashion and related industries. Students are encouraged to have an awareness of fashion in its social and cultural context and to bring that understanding to their work.  The department places great value on its industry and professional links that gives students an insight into real-world commercial requirements. Emphasis is placed on developing informed, creative designers, who are prepared for the needs of industry. (source: here)

RACHEL MORAN

Exhausted

This screen and digitally printed collection for unisex street-ear are designed using heavy cotton, sweatshirt knits, natural denim and jersey to create an Autumn/Winter collection. The theme of this collection is sleep deprivation.  The character Timothy was developed through an exploration of this topic. His night-time imagination, the stagnant light and frustrating times are explored to create an original and eccentric aesthetic.

NIAMH TIGHE

Connect Five

My design process is driven by colour, surface and construction. Architectural forms, geometric patterns and 60s and 70s interiors inspire me. For my degree show, I have created a series of playful, interlocking, multimedia textile modules that can be adapted and rearranged for a multitude of interior purposes.

Instagram: nimhttextiles

JENNIFER CUMMINS

Words can heal, art can be anything

My work is driven by the need to represent some of the challenges of mental health through materials, imagery and text; to represent the world in a different way. The faces are a depiction of the multitude of directions that someone’s life can take when they are at the point of crisis.

Instagram: jennifertextileart

Author: Walkowska Aleksandra

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018

NEW SCIENCE GALLERY, DUBLIN

What’s the difference between a collapse, a downfall, and a downright apocalypse? How will it all end, and why do we love to wonder? Ice or fire, zombies or bombs? Out with a bang or a whimper? And can we do anything to stop the decline?

The Science Gallery in Dublin is located on the ground of Trinity College. It is an independent non-profit gallery and the world’s first university-linked network dedicated to public engagement with science and art. The gallery occupies two floors with a coffee shop, gift shop and an auditorium for lectures. I try to visit the gallery a few times a year, the exhibitions are always very educational at the same time the viewer is asked a lot of questions. You can always get a full explanation from dedicated students involved in the show at the time. The gallery also offers lectures on various scientific topics.

     

In Case of Emergency is the most recent exhibition which is nearly coming to an end. I like the innovative and interactive way the facts are presented. Made a short recording of it, the display unit is a book with projected images.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK

 

Wall covered with clocks showing specific times around the world as an expression of political and historical events such as nuclear weapon tests, revolutions, massive changes. Took a photo of the one that felt the most personal.

Year: 1990
Minutes to midnight: 10
The difference from the previous setting: -4

European countries like Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania free themselves from Soviet control with no resistance or retaliation by Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. In late 1989, the Berlin Walls falls, symbolically ending the Cold War.

In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018

 

FRAMEWORKS OF ABSENCE

Artist: Brandon Ballengee

 

In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018

 

VOYAGE ON THE PLANET

Artist: Chiu Chih

 

In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018

 

THE CHINESE ‘DUST BOWL’

Artist: Benoit Aquin

 

In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018

 


SERIES OF DRAWINGS IN CHALLENGING SITUATIONS

Artist: Colin Matthes

 

 


THE END OF ‘THE END OF HISTORY’

Artist: Rodrigo Lebrun

 

In Case of Emergency, Science Gallery, Dublin 2018
In Case of Emergency, The Science Gallery, Dublin 2018

Rodrigo Lebrun

 

Rodrigo Lebrun

 

Rodrigo Lebrun

 

Words coming out from those visuals projects will give you chills. Summary of the world we live in today.  It helps to understand our confusion.  The macroeconomic, social and financial emergency – can we do anything to stop the decline?

 

FLUXUS

Could The Fluxus Art Movement be an inspiration for the way the display units in The Science Gallery are presented? Combination of art and science with a use of various intermedia?

 

Magazine Artsy has an article covering the movement called ‘What Is Fluxus?’

Author: Walkowska Aleksandra

CHINA, CHINA, CHINA

Origami roosters celebrating Year of a Rooster 2017

Everybody talks about China. How much do I know about China? What are the first associations I have with the country?

It is a big piece of land with an old history and a massive world population. They love their food and they live to work. The country had its cultural revolution under the leadership of Mao Zedong where the traditional art, craft and literature had to be destroyed to create a new, equal society. So far, for years anything that was ‘Made in China’ meant poor quality and mass production. It’s kind of still the case … Today everyone wants to trade with China, some even see the country as an economic and military threat.

I really wasn’t sure will I have enough to write about before I started my research on Chinese design. How wrong was I! Seems, I have found material for a string of posts.

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Ai WeiWei is Chinese most famous, provocative, contemporary, multidisciplinary artist and an activist. The guy is a living legend, went through a lot of hardship dealing with Chinese authorities. His work reflects on social issues with an emphasis on violations of human rights. He has a great compassion to most vulnerable people.

Ai WeiWei during an exhibition in Le Bon Marche, Paris
Ai WeiWei during an exhibition in Le Bon Marche, Paris

 

Le Bon Marche department store in Paris, featured in January 2016, Ai WeiWei exhibition called ‘Child’s Play’ a creation of mythological creatures using an old technique that involves stretching silk or paper over bamboo frames. The exhibition was inspired by Chinese antiquity legends and fairy tales, written by Shan Hai Jing.

Sadly, the artist could not read the stories as a child as it was totally forbidden at the time in China. During Mao Zedong ruling the intellectual property had to be destroyed with an idea of creating a different society. Society cut off from the past, roots, traditions, arts and crafts.

‘CHILD’S PLAY’ EXHIBITION

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‘LAUNDROMAT’ EXHIBITION

The exhibition features refugees clothes and shoes collected on the shore of Greece. Clothes are presented in a desirable way,  placed in a trendy store created by Ai WeiWie. Wall is covered with images of refugees gathered from social media.

Ai Weiwei: Laundromat at Deitch Projects

Ai Weiwei: Laundromat at Deitch Projects

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Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

All images and videos used in this post are linked to the original source. Click to find out more.

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