Uwe Loesch, Graphic designer, Germany
The Warsaw Biennale was always of tremendous importance. […] The Warsaw Biennale continues to be an important institution, an indispensible one which determines the rank of the poster. A long time before the province discovered the poster, the Warsaw Biennale was an event supported by the famous Polish poster.
Pierre Bernrad, Graphic designer, France
The poster is the prime field for experimenting with the visual language; it is the scene of changing ideas and aesthetics, of cultural, social and political events. The Warsaw Poster Biennale has discovered, brought together and celebrated the best designers ever since its inauguration in 1996. Indeed, it has become the most important meeting place of international graphic designing, a place where the often wonderful humanistic utopia is anticipated with courage and animated, helping all of us to live.
Shigeo Fukuda, Graphic designer, Japan
With such means of communication as television, radio and the press at the disposal of contemporary societies, the poster should come under special protection and should be supported in worldwide competitions of the kind represented by the Warsaw Biennale. Such events provide an opportunity for a continuous display of the best achievements and the extraordinary sensitivity of the artists. They also provide a chance for objective judgement of the displayed works, a judgement which escapes the boundaries of national divisions and is free of any imposed ideas and doctrines. It will not be an exaggeration to say that there is no community around the world which has not benefited from this undoubted achievement. […] Works presented at various poster competitions – the Warsaw Biennale for one – address problems of our violently changing world, subjecting them to deep analysis and critique, while at the same time demonstrating the joys and delights of everyday life. The emotional and spontaneous manner in which the artists do it cannot be anything but real.
Lech Majewski, Graphic designer, Poland
“Great competition. Grand test to see how life is mirrored in the poster and whether the reflection of human needs is true to life. Splendid manifestation of the best in this field of the graphic arts. Indeed, a review of creative thought, artistic experiment and inventiveness. This is what the Warsaw Biennale can and should become.” These were the words of the Biennale’s initiator and first Organizing Committee Chairman Józef Mroszczak, written thirty years ago in the introduction to the catalogue of the first International Poster Biennale. The Biennale has become all of that which Mroszczak envisaged and much more. Never a simple competition bringing together the most interesting accomplishments in the field of world poster design in the second half of the 20th century, it has set artistic standards and sat in severe judgement. It has ennobled debutantes, giving them international fame overnight. It has initiated several associated events. And it has become a model for other similar poster art reviews held around the world. Yet the great success of the Biennale are the artists and their works presented during the competition.
The roll of honor is obviously too long to be quoted here except for some of the most important names: Henryk Tomaszewski, Andy Warhol, Ikko Tanaka, Jan Lenica, Kazumasa Nagai, Roman Cieślewicz, Yusaku Kamekura, Shigeo Fukuda, Andre Francois, Waldemar Świerzy, Holger Matthies, the Grapus Group, Jan Młodożeniec, Uwe Loesch, Franciszek Starowieyski, Rosemaire Tissi, Karl Domeniec Geissbuhler, Gunter Rambow, Milton Glaser, Paul Davis, Jan Sawka and many, many others. Some of the artists have not missed a single competition over the years.
Uwe Loesch, Graphic designer, Germany
“Here and now, the Warsaw Biennale is celebrating its Thirtieth Anniversary. It was the first and for a long time the only Poster Biennale in the world, until other, mostly provincial places discovered the poster as a means of communication between art and commercialism.”
Dr Frieder Mellighoff, Art historian and art critic, Germany
This Biennale will always be a great review of creative potential, the creative power and will. At the same time it constitutes an impressive counter-balance to standard images of global advertising, and one which provokes varied opinions, analyses and theories.
Krzysztof Dydo, Art critic, collector of posters, Poland
Many times I have pondered on the phenomenon of the Warsaw Poster Biennale. Its origins are clear, but its great vitality, sympathy it enjoys that I hear of in every part of the world, the specific atmosphere impossible anywhere else. The Biennale lives thanks to the incredible sympathy of poster designing artists from the whole world, developed for many years. Artists, who are ready for systematic participation in its successive editions, which requires them to submit their work into the hands of “cruel” selectors and judges. Artists, who are not discouraged by the lack of awards and mentions, but full of belief in their own creation and the credibility of the evaluators. I said “cruel” with a purposeful exaggeration. Warsaw Biennale is really one of the most tolerant competitions. It has always accepted unique workshop printouts, often made in only a few copies, or sometimes even originals, which has been driving crazy potential collectors and museums. […] What is more important for the Warsaw Biennale is the idea – the thought and its visual realization. Openness of the competition and rather liberal rules allow participants to interpret the requirements of the organizations fairly freely. For many years it has been the cause for great numbers of submissions, great competition and wonderful experiences.