Return to figuration: Władisław Strzemiński and the move from idealism

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Contrary to the homogeneous flat canvases of Unism, in which Władisław Strzemiński attempted to surpass the incidents and vagaries of sensory perception, in the nature-inspired works he sought to represent a physiologically accurate vision. His purpose was to present humankind in the role of an active agent who formed the world and its concepts through observation and actual labour. An important contribution by Strzemiński to modern thought was therefore his introduction of the corporeal subject into the theory of art, a subject who perceived with the mechanics of his or her physiological eye. The return to figuration never signalled a distressing regression or a desperate act, but a fresh beginning and a mark of optimism: faith in the human capacity to change the world and faith in the transforming potential of human sight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-131
Number of pages29
JournalArt History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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