CENTRALA POP-UP at Funny Things

As part of Funny Things Festival 2017 Centrala will open pop-up gallery at the Wulfrun Shopping Centre and present a group exhibition of graphic design and illustration by young and established artists; Matúš Maťatko (SK), Ola Szmida (PL) and Karolina Jonc Buczek (PL), and Monika Szydlowska (PL) from Central and Eastern Europe.

Graphic design and illustration have played a very important part in Central and Eastern European culture. During the Communist regime they were probably the only colourful things one would see in the streets. A small but dedicated market for Central and Eastern European graphic design and illustration has emerged over the years. Driven by more than just nostalgia, it aims to preserve what is both a testament of a cultural heritage largely unknown outside its borders and an immense source of inspiration for today’s young artists.

The dramatic geopolitical changes of the past decade and the introduction of market-oriented systems have presented new challenges to the graphic design and illustration communities of Central and Eastern Europe. This exhibition will reflect the state of graphic design and illustration in this region and will offer a rare opportunity to view the diverse range of work from Central and Eastern European young designers guided by their predecessors.

Matúš Maťatko is as a creator working exclusively in the fields of figurative art. He naturally tends to express himself in symbolic, allegorical language and we can trace this tendency down to his illustration background. Using literary concepts to create a picture is a very actual and required capability in contemporary art. Maťatko’s prints could be seen as metaphoric reflections of humanity and cultural phenomena, yet, his topics are rarely poetic or lyrical. Instead they include political propaganda, manipulation, religious or historical misconceptions and civilization’s oddity. Despite their motives, Maťatko’s pictures cannot be seen as morals or austere critiques of the society. He accesses these topics with a sense of humor and ironical distance.

Ola Szmida (pictured) manages to create a sense of tension, humour and shock through a series of short, scratchy line animations in form of GIFs. Szmida likes to shock people a little but in a good way to make them laugh at themselves. The doodle-like style of her animations is typical of Szmida’s other work in its energy; she loves to draw freely and spontaneously, but on the other hand she is attracted to thought through narratives. Szmida mostly draws women, girls, boys, dogs, birds and strange faces where she prefers to work with contour lines more than colour.

Karolina Jonc Buczek finds inspirations in objects, situations and trends usually considered as tacky, cheesy, lacking good taste, popular and bizarre. She likes to distil the greyness of everyday reality into colourful essence, giving it the importance she believes it deserves. She has a particular interest in the drag queen cultural niche and the history of USSR, with the book dedicated to the Soviet Space Dogs being her all time favourite piece of literature.

Other highlights from our festival programme include Till Lukat who will be flying all the way from Germany to deliver a family friendly comic book workshop to seek what is impossible in Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Shopping Centre.

Full programme to be announced.

Image credit: Ola Szmida for Vice Poland.

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