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Twisted Spoon Press

PO Box 21 - Preslova 12, 150 21 Prague 5, Czech Republic

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[ excerpt ]

Polish writing

series: image to word

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also by the author:
The Witkiewicz Reader
The Mother and Other Unsavory Plays
Seven Plays

Nicotine, Alcohol, Cocaine, Peyote, Morphine, Ether

by Stanisław I. Witkiewicz (Witkacy)

translated from the Polish by Soren Gauger

As part of his portrait painting firm, Witkacy established rules and types for his portrait work, marking the paintings and pastels with corresponding symbols and abbreviations. Type C were produced under the influence of narcotics and alcohol. Type D, on the other hand, were produced under no such influence at all, which likewise affected the artist's mental state. In these instances a given portrait might be marked with symbols denoting how many days he had gone without smoking or without drinking. A variety of drugs and their combinations were taken to produce a variety of distortions and psychedelic effects. Different intoxicants resulted in different color combinations. One stunning series of self-portraits, for example, was executed while on a combination of moderate amounts of beer and cocaine.

In the vein of the well-known drug writings of Thomas De Quincey, Charles Baudelaire, and Walter Benjamin, Witkacy composed Narcotics in 1932 to discuss and document not only this artistic experimentation but the nature of addiction and the prevailing social attitude toward drugs. Yet unlike these other authors, he produced a fairly large corpus of visual art while under the influence of intoxicants that is integral to understanding his approach to drug use. According to Daniel Gerould, Witkacy felt that "artificial means were a final attempt to recapture, if only briefly, the metaphysical feelings that had been lost to social progress." This English-language edition will include excerpts from some of Witkacy's other writings and color reproductions of a cross section of portraits to show how various narcotics impacted his artwork.


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ISBN 9788086264486
198 pp. (166 pp. text
+ 32 full-color plates)
ribbon marker
17 x 20 cm
art : literature : avant-garde

release date:
February 12, 2018

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