(1885-1929) A writer, painter, philosopher, theorist. Witkiewicz was a major figure of the Polish avant-garde and was the primary representative of "catastrophism." He was a playwright who used the pseudonym Witkacy, and his plays were a precursor to the theatre of the absurd. Much of his work was done under the carefully controlled influence of cocaine and peyote.

His photographs filled approximately 12 albums, were never exhibited within his lifetime, and were destroyed in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. Somehow, there are 88 extant photos, including portraits taken at extreme close-up using a an extension lens made from a piece of plumbing pipe.

The exhibition organizer wrote in the catalogue that Witkiewicz's method was to wait until his subjects "assumed an expression of someone struck by the strangeness of existence." Witkiewicz committed suicide in 1929.


some info from Art Forum. some elsewhere. some from the voices in my head.

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