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Witkacy. Logos and the Elements


Edited By Teresa Pękala

This book focuses on Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, philosopher and controversial artist. It expresses the opinions of philosophers, museologists and artists, for whom Stanisław Ignacy Witkacy’s 130th birthday anniversary became an opportunity to view his works from the perspective of postmodernity. The authors concentrate on Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz as eminent and prophetic philosopher concerned about Western culture with its waning metaphysical feelings, master of gesture and poses, anticipating the postmodern theatricalization of life.

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Introduction (Teresa Pękala)


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Teresa Pękala


Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Witkacy (1885–1939), is a prophetic author, who has fascinated successive generations with his suggestive visions of the future. We live in the time which is Witkacy’s future. In 2015 we celebrated his one-hundred-thirtieth birthday anniversary, and there has since been a debate inspired by the philosophy and art of this unique author and artist. Among the Polish authors active on the eve of modernity Witkacy is indisputably the most recognizable figure. Continuous interest is aroused by the question about the future of metaphysics, about the problems of inability to fathom human life, its elemental spontaneity and philosophical reflection on corporeality. Witkacy is an avant-gardist, critical of naturalism but distanced from the abstract. An esthetician, advocate of Pure Form and the ‘logic of beauty’, and at the same time a fervent lover of the ‘life element’, which is the root of art.

The oddness of Individual Being adds a special aura to the mysterious characters of his dramas and novels, which alternately speak the language of debate and a sensual language with performative power. His philosophical texts abound in literary metaphors blurring the sharp boundaries between art and philosophy. Witkacy is an original philosopher who uses a language that has become a permanent component of the discourse of philosophy, art theory and esthetics. He introduced a whole vocabulary of terms, definitions and metaphors referring to modern art, with the concept of Pure Form...

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