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Warszawa Polski Neon - Warsaw Polish Neon
Warszawa Polski Neon - Warsaw Polish Neon

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Our Price: $45.95
ISBN: 9788375524697

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The history of Warsaw, the capital of Poland, goes back to the 9th Century. However as the city was completely destroyed and subsequently rebuilt after the Second World War, its Socialist Realism Architecture is solidly anchored to the Communist regime of post-war Poland.

The authorities took particular interest and pride in Neon advertising in Communist Poland. In Warsaw neon signs were often used as street lighting as it was considered a cheaper and easier method of illuminating the city.

The Neons of Warsaw were designed and built by prominent state artists, graphic designers and engineers and overseen by a chief Graphic Designer, who’s job it was to approve all new signs before their implementation. This complex and lengthy bureaucratic process meant that it would often take 2-3 years to finalize any given project.

During this period, state owned sign company “Reklama”, now privately run, had a full monopoly in Warsaw and throughout Poland. The Director of Reklama recalls how every week the company had to report to state officials. “Once they ordered us to Neonize Pulawska Street, one of the longest streets in the city. We would then have to purchase 12,000 meters of neon tubes” he says. With their intense interest in neon signs, the state officials would regularly request the engineers from Reklama to drive them around checking the condition of all the signs in the city and planning new ones.

The neon signs from that era were certainly grand in size and bold in design. Their playfulness and folly stood out in the otherwise dark and oppressed Poland. Most of the neons are now gone, too expensive to maintain, too fragile, rejected and forgotten by the city council, belonging to no one.

The Photographer

Ilona Karwinska, British/Polish fine art photographer, specializes in portraiture and world cultures. Based in London, she travels throughout the Middle East, particularly The Lebanon and Syria documenting the lives and cultures of the Druze people.

Ilona is a graduate of Goldsmiths College and the London College of Printing with an MA in Image and Communication.

Her most recent project ‘Polish Neon’ (which explores the disappearing world of communist era neon graphics) has recieved critical acclaim. Since her 'Polish Neon' photographic exhibitions in Covent Garden London, and in the iconic Palace of Culture & Science, Warsaw, her project has been credited with starting a 'neon revolution'. As a result of this unusual and pioneering project, Ilona was named one of Warsaw's top 50 creatives in 2007 by a leading publication.

Ilona is thrilled to have released her long-awaited, and first major solo photographic publication entitled 'Warszawa - Polish Neon', with the help of Gazeta Wyborcza, The City of Warsaw, Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Cannon.

Additionally, Ilona regularly participates in major international exhibitions and art fairs where she presents her limited edition figure and nude portraits for purchase.
  • Hardcover
  • 169 Pages
  • Over 180 beautiful neon images
  • Archival blueprints and photos
  • Essays by respected historians and authors
  • Size - 9.5" x 11.5" - 29cm x 24cm

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