Wiktor Gorka was a revolutionary Polish designer, and one of the greatest masters of poster design, as well as the founder of the Polish School of Posters. The motto of this school, which Gorka also vehemently applied to his works of art and design was “simplicity, clarity, the use of concise symbols and poetic metaphors.” Moreover, diverse means of expression was something that Gorka and his school put on a pedestal, and thus the artists and graduates of their university had the ability to fully express themselves and have artistic freedom.
Between the 1950s and 1980s, Gorka started designing posters for films, among them some of the most famous and critically acclaimed ones including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Spartacus, Sleepy Hollow, and his most famous one to date, Cabaret. This movie poster depicts the legs of Cabaret dancers with black stockings, and Grey’s face in daring makeup, together forming the shape of a swastika.
Interestingly enough, Gorka’s works were never shown in his place of origin, or in the place where they were created. Curators from all over the world (including miscellaneous cities in Poland) requested to display Gorka’s works in their exhibitions, yet the design’s place of origin was never the place that it was exhibited in.
Gorka was highly involved in various social causes, and made it his mission to elevate and give rise to designers that live in places where they don’t get as many opportunities to advance and make their dreams come true. In the 1970s, Gorka and a group of other Polish designers went to Havana, Cuba to conduct design workshops there, and elevate the design abilities and reach of South American artists. From there, he ended up in Mexico, where he works as an artist and a teacher. He taught drawing and poster design at a prestigious Mexican art school until the mid-90s. During the 6th International Poster Biennale in Mexico in 2000, he won the top award for this contribution to the development of the graphic arts in Mexico – Medalla a la Excelencia José Guadalupe Posada.