SPRING 'CHRUNIE'. WITKACY AND THE TATRAS (Wiosenne chrunie. Witkacy w Tatrach)
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Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, aka Witkacy (1885-1939), was a playwright, painter, novelist, philosopher and photographer, as well as an artist of living. Was he a man of the mountains, too? He spent half of his life living at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, in Zakopane, where his father Stanislaw, being an art critic and painter, promoted, not without success, the artistic potential of the local Gorale culture. Yet Witkacy, the defiant son, rejected his father's ideas. When painting landscapes, he eschewed any regional accents, and in his novel Pozegnanie jesieni (Farewell to Autumn), he brutally ridiculed the folklore. He loved skiing and mountaineering, yet he sneered at professional skiers and alpinists. At the same time, however, as his art and prose testify, he was deeply inspired by the Tatra landscape. It has to be viewed as the projection of subconscious content, both in the sphere of the fundamental conflict with his father (the novels), as in solutions to the practical problems of painting according to his Pure Form theory. This rich and ambivalent complex of emotional attractions and repulsions which has a dramatic existential dimension and is surprising in its artistic originality proves just how thoroughly Witkacy internalised the Tatras. His spontaneous confessions, full of words unknown to the Polish language but very affectionate like the 'chrunie' from the title, make the real mountains part of his personal, or even intimate, mythology.
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