Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Shelf 12, Case MM

May Poland be Poland. 2+2 must always equal four

Poster
1989 (designed and printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell used the slogan ‘2 plus 2 equals five’ as a demonstration of the false dogma and absurdity expounded by a totalitarian state. In response, the protagonist of the novel, Will Smith, claims that ‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four’. ‘Two plus two equals five’ was originally a communist slogan in the USSR suggesting that the goals of the first five year plan could be achieved a year early if people worked harder. Tomaszewski was one of the greatest masters of the Polish Poster School, which was renowned from the 1950s for its painterly approach, irony and visual metaphor.

The slogan 'May Poland be Poland' is a well known refrain of a song which in the 1980s became a hymn of the opposition and was regarded as an expression of support for the independent trade union Solidarity.

Solidarity, founded in September 1980, was the first free trade union in an Eastern Bloc country. It became the leading political force opposing the communist regime in Poland. Eventually the Polish Government was forced to negotiate with the Solidarity-led opposition, resulting in semi-free elections on 4th June 1989. This marked a crucial stage in the democratic transformation of Central and Eastern Europe.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitlePro-democracy Poster Collection (named collection)
Materials and Techniques
Lithograph printed in red and black on paper
Brief Description
Poster for the Solidarity trade union movement. Poland, 1989.
Physical Description
Poster
Dimensions
  • Height: 100cm
  • Width: 69.7cm
Credit line
Given by Miss Peggy Vance
Summary
In his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell used the slogan ‘2 plus 2 equals five’ as a demonstration of the false dogma and absurdity expounded by a totalitarian state. In response, the protagonist of the novel, Will Smith, claims that ‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four’. ‘Two plus two equals five’ was originally a communist slogan in the USSR suggesting that the goals of the first five year plan could be achieved a year early if people worked harder. Tomaszewski was one of the greatest masters of the Polish Poster School, which was renowned from the 1950s for its painterly approach, irony and visual metaphor.



The slogan 'May Poland be Poland' is a well known refrain of a song which in the 1980s became a hymn of the opposition and was regarded as an expression of support for the independent trade union Solidarity.



Solidarity, founded in September 1980, was the first free trade union in an Eastern Bloc country. It became the leading political force opposing the communist regime in Poland. Eventually the Polish Government was forced to negotiate with the Solidarity-led opposition, resulting in semi-free elections on 4th June 1989. This marked a crucial stage in the democratic transformation of Central and Eastern Europe.
Collection
Accession Number
E.137-1991

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 2, 2009
Record URL