Art Criticism in the Interwar Period. Between Philosophical Aesthetics and Modern Art



ms2, Ogrodowa 19


22.02.2018 - 23.02.2018

Conference curator

Paweł Polit

Conference coordinator

Agata Szynkielewska

Debora Vogel, author of, inter alia, a collection of poetic montages  Akacje kwitną [Acacias Bloom] (Yiddish edition 1935; Polish edition 1936), a commentator of radical experiments carried out by artists from Lviv, Krakow, and Łódź received a thorough education in philosophy; her doctoral dissertation discussed Hegel’s aesthetics. Vogel commented on the developments in modern art and parallel modernisation of life in terms of dialectics.

So far relatively little attention has been paid to coincidences and mutual inspirations between aesthetics and modern art. According to the dominant view, artistic experiments were meant to challenge traditional aesthetical values. The conference will focus on the philosophical, or more precisely, aesthetic background of activities pursued by writers-commentators of modern art in Poland. For obvious reasons, we will examine here academic aestheticians, such as Roman Ingarden, Zofia Lissa or Mieczysław Wallis. The approach also manifested itself in texts of authors engaged in the so called accompanying critical analysis, e.g., Helena Blum, Jan Brzękowski, Debora Vogel, and Stefania Zahorska. Art criticism acts as an intermediary between aesthetics and modern art; it reveals tensions between radical changes in art and a new conclusion in the evaluation of works of art.

By focusing on the language of art criticism from the interwar period in Poland we may find out that changes in art stimulated the development of aesthetic reflection, which – through art criticism – might, to an extent, transfer artistic practices to the level of theoretical self-consciousness.


Wioletta Kazimierska-Jerzyk (University of Lodz)

Karolina Kolinek-Siechowicz (University of Warsaw)

Iwona Lorenc (University of Warsaw)

Anastasiya Lyubas (Binghamton University, New York)

Anna Maja Misiak

Olha Mukha (National Pedagogical Dragomanov University, Kiev)

Agata Pietrasik (Freie Universität Berlin)

Agnieszka Rejniak-Majewska (University of Lodz)

Paweł Siechowicz (University of Warsaw)

Piotr Słodkowski (Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw)

Beata Śniecikowska (Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences)

Diana Wasilewska (Pedagogical University of Cracow)

The conference is organised in relation with the exhibition Montages. Debora Vogel and the New Legend of the City.


THURSDAY, 22nd February 2018

17.30 Welcome message to conference participants and guests. Introduction by Maja Wójcik, Paweł Polit, and Karolina Szymaniak

17.45 Diana Wasilewska, In Search of Modern Language of Criticism. Avant-garde art in Stefania Zahorska Approach

FRIDAY, 23rd February 2018

10.00 Agnieszka Rejniak-Majewska, “In between the “isms”” – Jan Brzękowski as New Art Critic and Theoretician

10.30 Agata Pietrasik, Piotr Słodkowski, Beyond Aesthetics. Surrealism in Art Criticism of Helena Blum

11.00 Beata Śniecikowska, Image – Music – Semantics. Zofia Lissa and the Avant-garde Film

11.30 Discussion

Coffee break

12.00 Wioletta Kazimierska-Jerzyk, “What I Love is the Most Abstract and the Most Concrete” – the Language of Art Criticism and the Terms of Mieczysław Wallis Aesthetics

12.30 Olha Mukha, The Importance of Roman Ingarden to Aesthetics and Art Criticism. Lviv Period

13.00 Karolina Kolinek-Siechowicz, Paweł Siechowicz, Zofia Lissa vs. Roman Ingarden. The Identity of Works of Music

13.30 Discussion

Lunch break

15.00 Anna Maja Misiak, Reaching the Heart of the Matter. Text and Image in Essays by Debora Vogel

15.30 Iwona Lorenc, Anticipations: the Phenomenon of Debora Vogel in the Light of the Neo-avant-garde

16.00 Anastasiya Lyubas, The Shape of Things: Debora Vogel's Theory of Seeing

16.30 Discussion

The conference will be held in Polish. Anastasiya Lyubas’s lecture will be interpreted into Polish.

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