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Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz

Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885-1939), known as "Witkacy," was a painter, photographer, dramatist, novelist, and philosopher, and one of the most influential figures in Poland's cultural avantgarde. He suffered the suicide of his fiancée in 1914, traveled to New Guinea with the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, fought as an officer in the tsarist White Army and survived the Russian Revolution in Petersburg before returning to Poland in 1918. He made hundreds of paintings and pastel portraits, and wrote over 40 challenging experimental plays. His dystopian futuristic novel, Insatiability (1930), describes a country much like Poland invaded by communist-fascists from the west and a drug cult from the east, in which the hero loses his individuality and becomes an automaton in a totalitarian society. When Poland was invaded by the Germans and then the Soviets in September 1939, Witkacy committed suicide. After the Second World War, Witkacy would remain an inspiration to every cultural figure in Poland engaged in the aesthetics of the absurd, modeling the ideal of the artist without compromise.
November 2019
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