Two to Achieve a Visible Alliance: On the Choreography of Stanisław Wyspiański’s Vision
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Stanisław Wyspianski’s tragedy, Protesilaus and Laodamia (1899), is about the toxicity of excessive illusiveness and constitutes the artist’s elucidation of a lethal image. The magic that linked Laodamia with the wax simulacrum of Protesilaus sentenced both lovers to death; she would have to die when her husband died or even earlier, when the statue became damaged. Making such “identical”, illusionistic images is therefore extremely dangerous for those who yearn for their adored one – not only for Laodamia, but also for Poles dreaming of a proud Poland peopled by marvellous heroes. As Jan Matejko’s apprentice, Wyspiański saw his master introduce models who looked as if they had come straight from some theatre’s costume storage to illusionistic scenes resurrecting bygone events of Polish military glory. Perhaps Matejko’s historicism is just as ineffective as Laodamia’s imago, and his art was a deceptively “instead” thing: perhaps a wretched and harmful substitute? Wyspiański determined that the avoidance of any spectacle of illusion would bring us to the artist’s dream – to an image perceived as a derivative of the life that is dedicated to it; an image which aids the conversio morum, inciting action to be an antidote to the disturbing and harmful “dreamy visions”.
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