Pop Art Lucjan Mianowski

"Painter, graphic designer and photographer whose works branched out between the styles of Expressionism and the Grotesque, Surrealism, Informel and pop art of the '50s and '60s. Based in Poznań and Kraków, traveling around the world for inspiration. Born on the 2nd of February, 1933, died in 2009 in Poznań.Lucjan Mianowski was was one of the most significant and fascinating of Polish graphic artists of the second half of the 20th century. He graduated with distinctions from the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts in 1956. He began exhibiting his works in Poland and was later recognised abroad. In 1957 he was awarded the first prize for a graphic in the Warsaw Arsenal Gallery, which at that time was presenting the Polish avant-garde. In 1959 he received scholarship of the French Government that enabled him studying at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the lithography studio run by Professor Pierre Clairin, where he studied between 1959 and 1960 as well as 1963 and 1964. Between 1964 and 1965 he went to Scandinavia and then in 1967 to Algeria and France. His travels opened him up to the latest artistic developments all over the world and the growing influence of mass culture on the arts, becoming one of the first artists in Poland to experiment with pop-art. When he returned to Poland he was put in charge of the litho-graphic workshop at the Poznań State Academy of Fine Arts.

Mianowski first attracted attention by his work in which the symbolic sense of the colour dominates, such as the oil painting in shades of grey. There is a symbolic meaning to the colours he chose for his lithographs and graphic works. Continuously observing the world and people, he presented an ironic, albeit romantic, vision of the world. Nude in a mirror, for example, is still a search for some variant of technical means which can be used in a formal aspect: there is the effect of two cameras being used to make a simultaneous photograph from two opposite sides of the object, which gives a vision from both points of new together.
Mianowski once wrote, "To be independent in life; that’s impossible. To be independent in art; that’s my aim". He was always open to new directions and trends in art, always seeking a unique style within the broader context of a new wave in art that pop-art, graphics and photography introduced to the mainstream. During the last years of his life Mianowski exprimented with computer graphics, always looking towards new inspirations and technologies to channel his creativity.

 He painted his pictures slowly, taking weeks to add the finishing touches, returning to them time and again, improving and perfecting them. In an essay entitled Without the Lapses of Haste , written for an exhibition catalogue published by the Arsenał Municipal Gallery in Poznań, Zofia Starikiewicz wrote:
" Józef Drążkiewicz recalls when they were both at an open-air artists’ workshop in Finland in 1979 and he was able to observe how Mianowski’s works were born. Or, to tell the truth, a single work. They spent a month on the island of Iso-Pukki, near Turku, Finland’s ancient capital. At the beginning of their stay, Lucjan found a swimming float on the beach. It was the kind used to teach beginners, semi-circular and with a hole in it where a rope could be fed through. At around seventy centimetres, it was fairly large. And so, he began to prepare it for painting. He used a twig he had picked up in the forest to plug the hole, which, as he said, seemed to him to be coquetry. Then, for days upon end, he planed it and smoothed it with a razor blade. Then he primed it. And finally he painted a road to nowhere on it. The contours of the road ran in accordance with principles of linear perspective, but the perpendicular strip painted along the centre of the road ignored those same rules and led straight to the heavens. His meticulously detailed work on the swimming float took him the entire month. Then, once he was back in Poland, he looked at it again and stated that the arched, upper edge was also too coquettish. So he cut it away and began the work again from scratch."Lucjan Mianowski passed away on the 23rd of July 2009 in Poznan at the age of 76.
(Author: Agnieszka Le Nart www.culture.pl )

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