This May we will be introducing some of the most iconic and sought after work from The School of Polish Posters. Look for CYRK (aka Circus) posters on Projekt 26’s stand. The first CRYK poster from 1962 was part of the Communist government’s drive to modernise the image of Poland’s State Circus which soon became known for its incredible posters and their vibrant colours, hand-lettering and humour as well as the artists’ hidden subversive messages.
Dealer Harriet Chalk says “Whilst the charm of the posters draws you in immediately on screen, nothing beats seeing the beauty and soul of the matte paper as well as the startlingly vivid colours in real life.”
Above is one of her and her business partner Sylwia Newman’s favourite rare posters ‘ Heroina’ by artist Andrzej Krajewski, produced in 1969 for an East German film. “When we saw it, it was love at first sight,” says Harriet.
Andrzej Kraweski passed away last year which makes Harriet even more determined to do all she can to promote and preserve his work and the work itself gaining value year on year. “Almost every piece has a magical quality which makes us smile. From reading his sons’ loving testimonies to him, it sounds like they reflect the man himself.”
He spent his whole life designing in a humorous, anti-establishment style. Born in 1933, he studied art under one of the founding legends of the School of Polish Posters, Henryk Tomaszewski. Krajewski loved pop art and was fascinated by American culture; he snuck its values into his work wherever possible, and emigrated to New York to pursue his American dream in the late ‘80s.
Look out for the graphic poster for British/American film classic ‘The Bridge over the River Kwai’ (above) designed by Mieczyslaw Wasilewski in 1988 at the very end of the art movement known as the School of Polish Posters (1945-1989) just a year before the Berlin Wall came down and Poland was freed from Communism. We absolutely love it’s bold monochrome typography.
And this original 1975 poster by Jacek Neugebauer which was made for French drama ‘If Don Juan were a Woman’ starring Brigitte Bardot.
Next on our awesome newbies list is Eesome who source the kind of pieces you expect to find in a Sicilian Mama’s kitchen. We love the craft element. They are so simplistic and rustic that they could have been made in between lunch and dinner while the bolognese was bubbling.
We have often been left open-mouthed by people asking whether we fit their ‘sustainability’ credentials when looking for a location to show in or brand to show with. Companies that deal in the kind of collectable booty Modern Shows is known for often get surpassed in the queue by young sustainables with new products using recycled elements or working to as small a footprint as possible by some keen millennials looking to save the planet.
As much as we laud these new labels forging the way forward excuse me for pointing out the obvious but we never felt we needed to say that by working from home and championing vintage we have been working at saving the planet one sideboard at a time since we first started out fifteen years ago. Ours is a teeny tiny baby footprint.
I mean – apart from the quarterly trip around Europe or the odd corner of a crate from the USA – you do not get much more sustainable than vintage dealers as the product they are dealing in has been used before or passed on from generation to generation and they do try to stick to British auctions and local freecycle or ebay where possible because it not only helps the planet, it helps their margins too.
One dealer does feel the need to point it out in black and white on her website. According to Hana at Eesomeshop, showing for the first time at our East London show, Eesome is an obsolete word meaning ‘pleasant on the eye’. As she says searching for refined selection of vintage takes time (time that is often not rewarded in profit) and Eesome like so many of our hand-picked dealers are champion curators of what works beautifully in the home. As Hana says, “When you buy second-hand, you are re-investing in materials and resources that have already been used.”
“No matter how ethically or sustainably made a new item is, buying second-hand will always be the best option in terms of the environment, creating very little demand on the worlds resources. Shopping second-hand is actively choosing to support a small, independent supply chain. Most of our items are bought through charities or individual market sellers who make a living from these purchases.”
“The money you spend feeds back into small communities, rather than getting lost in large companies. The vintage homeware we select tends to be of a much higher quality than modern, mass-produced items. Many of the items have been handmade by craftsmen using natural materials and traditional methods.”
Look for the most sculptural Danish and Dutch lights from Modern-id. Museum class American classics from Eames, Cherner and Nelson at Pink Flamingos and the best in Robin Day and Alvar Aalto from Form & Function. Some stunning Hans Wegner at 20th Century Antiques. Fab C20 prints collected by new dealer, the architect Geoff Powell (husband of comedian Jenny Eclair), Scandinavian silver jewellery you will find it hard to walk past from Grasilver and much much more from our other regulars like Stedsans who save the planet by reupholstering antique sofas and chairs.
This Haggerston Emma Sibley London Terrariums will be hosting a Terrarium workshop which you can book into if you fancy making a day of it. Learn to make your own large DEMIJOHN terrarium as part of your day at Midcentury East and get to take your self-sustaining unique miniature garden/ecosystem away with the ferns, moss and pebbles inside. Head around the show from the early entry time of 9am before the crowds gather so you get prime pickings and then do the workshop at 12 pm with more time to have lunch in one of the food vans outside with plenty of time to see the show afterwards too. There will be room to leave your terrariums at the workshop before you leave. All the materials are provided, and you’ll be sent home with a care guide. Demijohn terrarium workshop(rrp £60) and early entrance to Midcentury East show (rrp £15) – (worth £75) Buy it for £68 here
You can also learn to make your own medium sized TINYJOHN terrarium as part of your day at Midcentury East. Head around the show from 10am and then do the workshop at 2pm. All the materials are provided, and again you’ll be sent home with a care guide. Your ticket includes the Tinyjohn terrarium workshop(rrp £40) and entrance to Midcentury East show (rrp £10) – (worth £50) Buy it for £48 here
Look forward to seeing you all at our beautiful Brutalist Goldfinger venue on Sunday 19th May.