The neon signs shining a light on cold-war Poland

please note this post is not by Jay Clapp Photography but from the photography news at the guardian for your viewing pleasure please feel free to use the share buttons at the bottom.

The grey buildings of cold-war Poland were adorned with incongruously bright neon signs. The designs illuminate a moment lost in time

In pictures: Poland’s neon signs

I once had a Polish friend who turned down my offer of a limited-edition, orange-flavoured Kit Kat on the grounds that it was “far too communist”.

Pressed further, he explained that the only (cheap, low-quality) chocolate available to him as a child had its taste masked by orange flavouring. Hence his concept of western decadence – all that was denied him as a child – was of a magical place where chocolate always tasted of chocolate.

He would no doubt have something equally disparaging to say about these extraordinary images by the fine art photographer and author Ilona Karwinska. A mixture of her own pictures and archival photographs, they capture another attempt by Poland’s communist regime to prove that anything the west could do, they could do better.

The neon lights that adorn everything from shopfronts to theatres and cinemas date from the 1950s, when Poland was at an economic standstill and the propaganda of the cold war was at its height. While the motivation behind these incredible designs may have been little more than a cynical attempt to boost the economy by aping the consumerism of western Europe, there is no denying the sheer quality of the work. This unique archive provides a rare window into a moment lost in time, and represents a typographer’s dream.

David Crowley of the Royal College of Art raves about how the collection preserves “a unique and significant moment in Poland’s history” – one where necessity truly proved the mother of invention. Not that my Polish friend would agree. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Art and design: Photography | Mark Hooper Thanks for reading Jay


About jayclappphotography

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Posted on April 28, 2013, in Photography News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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