“I wanted to leave Poland to see how my posters would stand up to the neon light of the west. I dreamed of Paris.” Roman Cieslewicz (1930-1996) came to Paris in 1963 and quickly became one of France’s leading graphic artists. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs revisits this major figure in late 20th century graphic design with a retrospective Roman Cieslewicz, la fabrique des images (until Sept. 23, 2018).
Hired by Peter Knapp as a layout artist, he contributed to Elle magazine and became its artistic director. In 1967, he took part in the creation of a new art magazine, Opus International. He also worked for Vogue. In 1993, the Centre Georges Pompidou paid tribute with a comprehensive retrospective.
His eclectic oeuvre span a variety of graphic expressions ranging from posters to magazines to photomontages. In addition to his professional work the retrospective includes personal projects such as “Kamikaze Magazine” and his photomontage social critique “Pas de Nouvelle-Bonnes Nouvelle.”
For Cieslewicz “fabrique des images” meant using scissors and glue. He was an avid newspaper reader saving clippings he later re-appropriated for his projects. Cieslewicz was just on the cusp of the digital era. When asked in a 1993 Eye Magazine interview about computers, he said “You can imagine anything you like and put it on computer, but it will never have the perfection of the hand-drawn image or the freedom which I value so much… New images for me grow out of fortuitous accidents made by hand…”
Roman Cieslewicz, la fabrique des images, to Sept 23, 2018. Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris