26 April 2005
STANISLAW IGNACY WITKIEWICZ (WITKACY) (1885-1939)
Self Portrait, 1912-14
gelatin silver print
6 5/8 x 4¾in. (16.8 x 12.1cm.)
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Witkacy: Metaphysical Portraits, Czartoryska and Okolowicz, Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1997, p. 57 (this print)
Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, Oct. 28 - Dec. 14, 1997
Robert Miller Gallery, New York, April 1-25, 1998
Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, using the pseudonym Witkacy, was one of the most important Polish artists during the early phases of modern art and was a member of the avant-garde group first known as the Polish Expressionists and later called the Formist movement. As a witness to the Russian revolution Witkacy had a fatalistic world outlook and saw the ultimate demise of religion, philosophy and art. An eccentric genius, he produced paintings, photographs, drawings, philosophical and theoretical writings as well as plays and novels.
Witkacy used photography as a way of exploring the soul and the idea of multiple personalities producing a series of self-portraits with extreme and even grotesque facial expressions. By 1924 he was experimenting with the use of narcotics to paint portraits with expressive force. Witkacy's ultimate act of negation of contemporary reality was his death by suicide the day after the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939.
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