The STANISŁAW IGNACY WITKIEWICZ-Witkacy photography exhibition “The beauty and the beast”

On the 6th of April at 7 p.m., 2018 at the Klaipėda Photography Gallery an exhibition dedicated to the well-known artist – a playwright, painter, philosopher and photographer of the 20th century 1st half – Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz-Witkacy (1885–1939).

Witkacy’s parents were born in Lithuania: Stanisław Witkiewicz – at the Pašiaušė manor not far from Šiauliai, Marija Pietrzkiewiczówna – at Tryškiai; Stanisław Witkiewicz – a well-known painter, art critic and architect, the pioneer of the Zakopane style of the end of the 19th century – early ears of the 20th century. After the rebellion of the year 1863 the whole family was exiled toTomsk.

To this day Witkacy is a significant figure not only to the culture of Poland, but to the culture of the whole world as well. He was born on the 24th of February, 1885, studied at the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, participated in art exhibitions, was one of the most important ideologists of the artist group “Formist” (orig. “Formistai”), took interest in aesthetics, theory of art, psychoanalysis (best known works are – “Aesthetic Sketches” (orig. “Estetikos eskizai”), “Theatre. Introduction to the Theory of Pure Form in the Theatre” (orig. “Teatras. Įvadas į Grynosios Formos teoriją teatre”). The texts of Witkacy go deep into the essence of mysteries of existence; the dramas seek to reveal the character’s metaphysical feelings. Belonging to the culture of the modern 1st half of the 20th century, the artist created and approved its important features by himself – principally negated the tradition of linear, consecutive narration, illustrating the visual reality and feeling of reality, psychological realism, that he called “artistic diarrhea”. On the 18th of September, 1939, after he heard that the Red Army marched intoPoland, Witkacy committed suicide.

Witkacy was called a pioneer of the absurd theatre; he wrote nearly forty dramas (among them – “Country House” (orig. “Mažame dvarelyje“), “Metaphysics of a Two Headed Calf” (orig. “Dvigalvio veršiuko metafizika”), “The Madman and the Nun” (orig. “Beprotis ir vienuolė“), “The Beelzebub Sonata” (orig. “Belzebubo sonata”), “The Shoemakers” (orig. “Batsiuviai”), which were and are produced by well-known producers from Poland and other countries – among them Tadeusz Kantor and Krystian Lupa. Wytkacy’s works have been translated to many languages of the world; in 1993 a short “Sketch” was translated to Lithuanian language by Giedrius Gabrėnas (the translation was published in journal “Krantai”). Witkacy’s drama “Country House”, translated by Giedrius Gabrėnas, was built at the Panevėžys drama theatre by the director Saulius Varnas.

A Polish director Jacek Koprowicz built a movie about Witkacy called  “Mystification” (2010) – the action takes place in 1969: it becomes clear that Witkacy did not commit suicide and is still alive and continues his passionate and crazy experiments not only with art but with life as well.

At the exhibition – nineteen digital prints from the original negatives, from the Stefan Okołowicz collection. The larger part of the negatives was taken by Witkacy himself. In those prints – interesting and significant personalities of artistic life of the  1st half of the 20th century: artist’s father Stanisław Witkiewicz (1851–1915), writer Bruno Schulz (1892–1942), pianist Arthur Rubinstein (1851–1915), a close friend of Witkacy, one of the most famous anthropologists of Poland Bronisław Malinowski (1884–1942). The portraits of the artist taken by Józef Głogowski, Władysław Jan Grabski, Tadeusz Langier as well as autoportraits of Witkacy himself are exhibited.

The owner of photographs Stefan Okołowicz graduated from the Painting Department of Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, is interested in photography and its history, is collecting Witkacy’s photographs since the 8th decade of the 20th century. His collections have already been presented in many exhibitions in Poland and outside of it. The larger part of this collection will be presented for the first time at the centre of contemporary art Trieste Contemporanea inTrieste,Italy. 

Curators of the exhibition:

Gabriella Cardazzo (Artspace), Giuliana Carbi (TriesteContemporanea), Helmutas Šabasevičius (VilniusAcademyof Arts) .

Organisers of the exhibit:

Trieste Contemporanea, Artspace, Poland Institute in Vilnius, Vilnius Academy of Arts, Klaipėda Department of the Union of the Lithuanian Art Photographers.  

The exhibit at the Klaipėda Photography Gallery will be opened until the 6th of May, 2018.  

The Witkacy photography exhibition “The beauty and the beast” (orig. “Gražuolė ir pabaisa”) is a part of the educational activity cycle “(Un)true stories“ (orig. “(Ne)būtos istorijos”). The project is organized by the Klaipėda Department of theUnion of the Lithuanian Art Photographers. Curator - Darius Vaičekauskas. The project is partially funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.