Zygmunt Januszewski (1956-2013)

Zygmunt Januszewski (1956-2013)

Is known foremost thanks to his over 3000 cartoons and drawings published in newspapers, magazines and books. He was “a graphic artist of a process”, a painter of a line who kept searching for new graphic techniques, a poet of a symbol, a voyager of imagination.
He had bonds with Satyrykon since its very beginning. He designed a logo of Satyrykon, a sculpture of Filip (cast by Tomasz Ross), which is a mark of Satyrykon in Legnica, and commemorative plaques of great artists of satire.

Already in his first drawings, published as early as during his student years, he applied a certain set of motifs and a specific sense of romantic absurd – both recognized as individual marks of his works. He told stories about a man involved in hopeless situations, about an endless though constantly renewable strive for knowledge and success,about dreams which are beautiful because they cannot become real. He would transform his characters into knights of a book army in such a way that we would have been able to experience their tragedy through a joke. He would observe the surroundings with an eye of a  draughtsman and an ear of a poet, detecting all clear sounds and sublime states which exist in the world cacophony. As a graphic artists he used to experiment with combining unique printing techniques and entwine them with poetry to come up with “a total book”, in which every line, every sign and every letter were related to each other (Wierszografia [Poemography]). After 2008 he created a project of “Sound Drawing”. Every movement of drawing a line had its sound, this way every drawing was given a multi-layered sonographic version. Until the very last day of his serious illness he would not stop drawing and designing.

Januszewski was born on 17 February 1956 in Warsaw, where he also died on 12 September 2013. He graduated from The II Stefan Batory Lyceum in Warsaw. He studied at the Printing Department of The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in the years 1976−1981 (awarded a diploma in Prof. Janusz Stanny’s studio). Since 1983 he was a member of BBK Ostwestfalen (Association of German Artists). Since 1982 he showed his works within over 100 individual exhibitions in Poland and abroad. He was the first Polish and the youngest ever artist to have a solo show at The Wilhelm-Busch-Museum in Hannover (1989). He designed posters for the Opera in Bielefeld, Schauspiel Bonn, the Theatre and University in St. Gallen. Since 2000 he was a professor of Internationale Sommerakademie für Bildende Kunst in Salzburg. In 2002 he took the Illustration Studio (Warsaw Academy) over Prof. Stanny, which he ran until 2013. In 2009 he was granted a title of professor of the Linyi Normal University in China. He made drawings, installations (Bildklang Project, Munich – among others), he focused on printing, he was a poet.

He won numerous awards and distinctions, among many others are the following: 1987 – Kaiserring-Stipendium (Emperor’s Ring Fellowship, Mönchehaus Museum für Moderne Kunst, Goslar); 1990 – The Most Beautiful Book of the Year, Frankfurt am Mein (Die schönsten deutschen Bücher Stiftung) for Die rote Spur, Verlag Apfelstedt+Hornung); 1996 – “Printer of the Year”, Edinburgh, for Jeder ist ein Künstler. Zygmunt Januszewski. Kombinations-Kunst, Quensen Verlag; 2003 – Victoria and Albert Museum Illustration Award for the book cover Witness, “The Guardian Review”; 2004 – The Society of Publication Design Award, New York for Cruel Harvest by Jonathan Raban, “The Guardian Review”; 2004 – Olaf-Gulbransson-Preis, Olaf-Gulbransson-Museum, Tegernsee, Bavaria. Awards and didistinction in the competition of PTWK [Polish Association of Book Publishers] (for his own book Wierszografia/Wersgraphik [Poemographik], 2010 among others). His cartoon were published in: „Der Standard“, „Die Presse“, „morgen“, „Wiener Journal“, „was“, „Literatur und Kritik“, „Danubius“ (Austria); „Fremdsprache Deutsch“, „Süddeutsche Zeitung“, „Die Zeit“; „Die Welt“ (Germany); „Neue Zürcher Zeitung“, „NZZ-Folio“, „Nebelspalter“, „Du“, „Tages Anzeiger“ (Switzerland); ”The Guardian“ (Great Britain), „Couriere International“, „Le Monde“ (France); „Gazeta Wyborcza“, „Polityka“, „Rzeczpospolita“ and „Wprost“ (Poland) among others.
The artist’s works are in important museum collections all over the world.

Dorota Folga Januszewska
transl. Anita Wincencjusz-Patyna

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