Ryszard Kaja
© Ryszard Kaja | The Barber of Seville II | Grand Theatre in Poznan | 2016

Ryszard Kaja

  • born 1962
  • born in Poznań
  • lives and works in Wrocław and Legnica
  • specialises in applied graphics, including poster, workshop graphics, paintig and scenography

“Life is terrible, but I have decided that it is beautiful”.
(Bohumil Hrabal)

He studied arts at the Faculty of Graphic Arts at the State Higher School of Arts in Poznań. In 1984, he received a Diploma from Professor Norbert Skupniewicz Painting Studio. After graduation, he was the main scenographer with the Grand Theatre in Łódź (1989‒1993), Opera and Operetta in Szczecin (1993‒1995), and then with the Grand Theatre in Poznań (1995‒2000). In 2000, he gave up scenography in favour of painting, graphic arts and posters.

He has presented his works at numerous exhibitions both in Poland (in Chorzów, Legnica, Łódź, Poznań, Rybna, Warsaw and Wrocław etc.) and abroad (Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Cairo, La Paz, London, Minsk, New Delhi, Oxford, Santa Cruz, Saint Louis and Vitebsk etc.). In the year 2016, the Poznań Arsenał Gallery organised the first monographic exhibition with his works entitled “What is Ryszard Kaja taming”, showing his posters, paintings, graphics, drawings, scenographic theatre works and examples of applied arts.

The most important prizes and distinctions: Gold Mask for scenographic activity – 1989, 1992, 1993 and 1994; Young Art Medal, 1998; Silver Medal, “SATYRYKON”, International Exhibition of Satire Drawings, Legnica, 2017.

The most characteristic features of Ryszard Kaja’s posters are means of artistic expressions typical of drawing and painting. His scenography designs have always been full of painting, whereas his graphics and paintings – full of theatre. This interpenetration of conventions has become the hallmark of all his artistic output. He intentionally blurs the borders between the painting, graphics, sketch and poster. He is ostentatiously out of fashion. The colouring of his posters is highly delicate and although it is limited to a monochromatic range, often a strong, dominant, contrasting red is used. The faded, subdued atmosphere is creating a subtle mood, as if saturated with the patina of time. The time motif can be found throughout his artistic life, mostly in his regularly updated diary. Posters as well as other works of his strongly expose the autobiographic plot. In addition to posters associated with culture, he created a considerable cycle of tourist posters entitled “POSTER-POLAND”, comprising over 150 works, which is – just like memoirs – a private guide to the artist’s memories. His ostentatious individualism is based on unique figurativeness founded on the reality of moods. In the semantic sphere, the posters of Ryszard Kaja strongly expose distance, wit, and humour. The artist is a typical storyteller, and that is why his posters are full of, seemingly insignificant, petty details and chaotic digressions, which are like memories and observations stored in a disarray in the attic. He is fascinated with banality and absurdity of everyday situations. The artist is an attentive observer, who frequently explores ordinary motifs, glorifying what is trivial, stereotypical and kitschy. He presents the ridiculousness of everyday life as a surrealist vision. All of his works praise the trite prosaic and show respect for the usual. The key to the creative output of Ryszard Kaja is an artistic oxymoron: a direct distance, bitter happiness, meaningful silence, or a sad laugh.

Ryszard Kaja Gallery

© Ryszard Kaja | Czech Soap Opera | Napięcie Theatre in Łódź | 2011
© Ryszard Kaja | Czech Soap Opera | Napięcie Theatre in Łódź | 2011
© Ryszard Kaja | Marital knot | “Gwitajcie” Theatre in Szczecin | 2016
© Ryszard Kaja | Marital knot | “Gwitajcie” Theatre in Szczecin | 2016
© Ryszard Kaja | Plakate – Ryszard Kaja | PIGASUS Polish Poster Gallery in Berlin | 2010
© Ryszard Kaja | Plakate – Ryszard Kaja | PIGASUS Polish Poster Gallery in Berlin | 2010
© Ryszard Kaja | Polish Theater Poster | Toi Whakaari School in Wellington | 2015
© Ryszard Kaja | Polish Theater Poster | Toi Whakaari School in Wellington | 2015
© Ryszard Kaja | Mme Titanik | Sztukateria Theatre in Wrocław | 2010
© Ryszard Kaja | Mme Titanik | Sztukateria Theatre in Wrocław | 2010
© Ryszard Kaja | Brda (PLAKAT-POLSKA series) | PolishPosters.com | 2017
© Ryszard Kaja | Brda (PLAKAT-POLSKA series) | PolishPosters.com | 2017
© Ryszard Kaja | Poland, vodka, herring (PLAKAT-POLSKA series) | PolishPosters.com | 2013
© Ryszard Kaja | Poland, vodka, herring (PLAKAT-POLSKA series) | PolishPosters.com | 2013
© Ryszard Kaja | Legnica (PLAKAT-POLSKA series) | PolishPosters.com | 2015
© Ryszard Kaja | Legnica (PLAKAT-POLSKA series) | PolishPosters.com | 2015
© Ryszard Kaja | Wolsztyn (PLAKAT-POLSKA series) | PolishPosters.com | 2017
© Ryszard Kaja | Wolsztyn (PLAKAT-POLSKA series) | PolishPosters.com | 2017
© Ryszard Kaja | Stalowa Wola (PLAKAT-POLSKA series) | PolishPosters.com | 2015
© Ryszard Kaja | Stalowa Wola (PLAKAT-POLSKA series) | PolishPosters.com | 2015

More information about the artist: ryszardkaja.pl

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