Please join the East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute for a presentation by Michalina Kmiecik (Jagiellonian University in Kraków). This event is part of the event series East Central Vanguard: New Perspectives on the Avant-Garde.
The role of female artists in the Polish avant-garde movement is still not recognized. Many of them were silent organizers of artistic life (as Iwona Boruszkowska calls them: midwives of the avant-garde), editors of magazines, literary critics, reciters, translators etc. Michalina Kmiecik's presentation will highlight several characters who actually gained some recognition in the avant-garde period and took part in theoretical debates, sharing interesting and innovative ideas. Kmiecik will focus on the discussion between Katarzyna Kobro and Debora Vogel concerning the problem of space, architecture and sculpture. In 1933, Vogel, a poet and theoretician, reviewed ideas presented by Kobro and her husband Władysław Strzemiński in their famous essay Composition of Space. She also published commentaries on modern living and design. Her ideas were strongly inspired by modern media and their abilities. What Vogel tried to develop in her theory and also in her writing (by concentrating on the montage technique and tracking inner dynamics of the artifact) is also present in Kobro’s abstract sculptures and her fascination with "composing space". Comparing theoretical work of these two women may open a debate on dynamic approach in spatial and architectural studies, and the role of female artists in popularizing it among Polish avant-gardists.
Image caption: Kobro and Strzemiński's "Composition of Space." The front cover.
Michalina Kmiecik works in the Chair of Literary Theory and in the Centre for Avant-Garde Studies at the Faculty of Polish Studies at Jagiellonian University in Kraków. She published two books on the Polish and European avant-garde: Oblicza miejsca. Topiczne i atopiczne wyobrażenia przestrzeni w poezji Juliana Przybosia (Aspects of Place. Topical and Atopical Images of Space in the Poetry of Julian Przyboś, Universitas, Krakow 2013), Drogi negatywności. Nurt estetyczno-religijny w poezji i muzyce awangardowej w XX wieku (Paths of Negativity. The Aesthetic-Religious Tendency in Avant-Garde Poetry and Music in the 20th Century, Jagiellonian University Press, Krakow 2016). From 2012 to 2015 worked on a project Central and Eastern European Avant-Garde: Innovation or Repetition?; in 2016 started (together with Iwona Boruszkowska) a project Modes of Avant-Garde Behaviour financed by the National Center for Science in Poland. She organized and participated in several lectures and discussions about Polish and foreign avant-garde practices. Presented her findings during conferences and in Polish scientific journals.