Behind the Curtain by Andrzej Klimowski & Danusia Schejbal
During the 1970s, when many Eastern European citizens dreamed of going West, two young students travelled the other way. They studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and, much to everyone’s surprise, stayed on to make a living as artists. Behind the Curtain is a graphic novel account of their journey. In this unique collaboration, two distinctive styles interweave to tell a charming and sophisticated story of life, art and politics. Behind the Curtain is a portrait of the cultural environment that flourished against the backdrop of the harsh realities of the communist state. Behind the Curtain captures the absurdities of a time when toilet paper was worth its weight in gold, as well as picturing the vibrant community of artists who were producing visionary theatrical productions, films, ground-breaking posters and exhibitions. It was a time when a Polish Pope was elected, Solidarity Free Trade Unions were formed and, eventually, tanks appeared in the streets.
Andrzej Klimowski is a graphic artist and a designer of theatre, opera and film posters. He is an international illustrator of book covers and press and magazine illustrations and an author of graphic novels (publishers include Faber & Faber and SelfMadeHero). His research interests are in narrative, investigating new relationships between text and image. He is Professor of Illustration and Senior Tutor at Visual Communications at the Royal College of Art.
Born of Polish parents in London in 1949, Klimowski trained at the Saint Martin’s School of Art before studying at the Academy of Fine Art and working professionally in Warsaw. His East-European legacy deeply influences his work. From the late 1970s he designed posters and book jackets – including novels by PG Wodehouse , Simon Louvish, Lionel Shriver, Milan Kundera and Kazuo Ishiguro – and illustrations, TV graphics and animation, following his particular of from examples of his ‘Polish School’ design. The early twentieth century photo-collagists, Surrealism, Dada and Expressionism have been an influence on part of his work, but he has developed his own personal style with a combination of fantasy, anxiety, ambiguity and eroticism which keeps his works from becoming pastiche. He is the current head of illustration at the RCA. His work includes short films, illustrations and books, including Lo Sguardo Deviato (The Deflected Gaze), and most recently The Secret. His work has recently been the subject of a retrospective at the Theatre Museum in London.
Danusia Schejbal has exhibited her critically acclaimed paintings in exhibitions across Europe. Born in London, she was awarded a British Council Scholarship to study Stage Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland. From 1976 to 1981, she designed sets and costumes for various theatres in Poland. Her career has subsequently seen her as a designer for the Cherub Theatre Company (1981 Sunday Telegraph Award for best production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for Macbeth). She co-authored a series of graphic novels with Andrzej Klimowski: Master and Margarita, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robot.
Behind the Curtain
By Andrzej Klimowski & Danusia Schejbal
Published by SelfMadeHero, March 2015
Premiere of the catalogue “Polish Books for
As is tradition, along with the inauguration of the Bologna Children's Book Fair, the Book Institute's catalogue "Polish Books for Children & Young Adults" premieres, presenting excellent Polish books for young audiences that were published last year.