Home E-Learning The Polish Artist Stanisław Witkiewicz Made Portraits Whereas On Completely different Psychoactive Medication, and Famous the Medication on Every Portray

The Polish Artist Stanisław Witkiewicz Made Portraits Whereas On Completely different Psychoactive Medication, and Famous the Medication on Every Portray

The Polish Artist Stanisław Witkiewicz Made Portraits Whereas On Completely different Psychoactive Medication, and Famous the Medication on Every Portray

At the very least as soon as a day, workers at artwork museums and galleries worldwide should hear somebody say, “the artist will need to have been on medicine.” It’s the best clarification for artwork that disturbs, unsettles, confounds our expectations of what artwork must be. Possibly generally artists are on medicine. (R. Crumb tells the story of discovering his inimitable model whereas on acid.) However perhaps it’s not the medicine that make their artwork appear otherworldly. Possibly mind-altering substances make them extra receptive to the supply of creativity….

In any case, artists have lengthy used psychoactive substances to achieve increased states of consciousness and deal with a world that doesn’t get their imaginative and prescient. Within the early days of LSD experimentation, one psychiatrist even examined the phenomenon. UC Irvine’s Oscar Janiger dosed volunteer topics at a rented L.A. home, then had them draw or in any other case document their experiences. He in the end aimed to make a “creativity tablet,” testing a whole bunch of keen topics between 1954 and 1962.

Had Polish artist Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885-1939) — who glided by “Witkacy” — lived to see the unfold of LSD, he would have signed up for each trial. Extra doubtless, he would have carried out his personal experiments, with himself as the only check topic. The Warsaw-born artist, author, thinker, novelist, and photographer died in 1939, the 12 months after Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman by chance synthesized acid. All through his profession, nevertheless, Witkacy experimented with nearly each different psychoactive substance, anticipating Janiger by a long time along with his portraits — painted whereas… sure… he was on plenty of medicine.

Not like his up to date Dalí, Witkacy didn’t declare to be medicine. However he was hardly coy about their use. He made notes on every portray to point his state of intoxication. “Below the affect of cocaine, mescaline, alcohol, and different narcotic cocktails,” the Public Area Assessment writes, “Witkacy ready quite a few research of shoppers and pals for his portrait portray firm, based within the mid-Twenties.” The medicine induced “totally different approaches to color, approach, and composition. The ensuing pictures are surreal — and infrequently horrific.” Typically the medicine in query had been restricted to caffeine, a day by day staple of artists all over the place. He additionally made portraits whereas abstaining from different addictive substances like nicotine and alcohol.

At different occasions, Witkacy’s notes — written in a form of code — specified extra pronounced utilization. He made the portrait above, of Nina Starchurska, in 1929 whereas on “narcotics of a superior grade,” together with mescaline synthesized by Merck and “cocaine + caffeine + cocaine + caffeine + cocaine.” One other portrait of Starchurska (under) made in that very same 12 months concerned some heavy doses of peyote, amongst different issues.

Witkacy’s investigations had been literary as nicely, culminating in a 1932 guide of essays known as Narcotics: Nicotine, Alcohol, Cocaine, Peyote, Morphone, Ether + AppendicesThe guide “owes a lot to the experimental works of different European psychonauts all through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.” Invoking the decadent moralism of Thomas De Quincey and Baudelaire, and it anticipates the utopian, psychedelic prose of Aldous Huxley and Carlos Castaneda.

The place he may fulminate, with satirical edge, in opposition to the usage of medicine, Witkacy additionally joyously data their liberating results on his inventive consciousness. His chapter on peyote “most intently approximates the spirit” of his work, notes Bibiliokept in a evaluation of the lately republished quantity:

“Peyote” begins with Witkiewicz taking his first of seven (!) peyote doses at six within the night and culminating round eight the next morning with “Straggling visions of iridescent wires.” In increments of about quarter-hour, Witkiewicz notes every of his surreal visions. The wild hallucinations are rendered in equally surreal language: “Mundane disumbilicalment on a cone to the barking of flying canine dragons” right here, “The start of a diamond goldfinch” there. 

Elsewhere he writes of “elves on a seesaw (Comedic quantity)” and “a battle of centaurs became a battle between fantastical genitalia,” all of which lead him to conclude, “Goya will need to have identified about peyote.”

Narcotics capabilities as a form of key to Witkacy’s considering as he made the portraits; half drug diary, half creative assertion of function, it features a “Checklist of Symbols” to assist decode his shorthand. The artist dedicated suicide in 1939 when the Purple Military invaded Poland. Had he lived to attach with the psychedelic revolution to come back, maybe he would have been the artist to make psychotropic drug use a good type of tremendous artwork. Then we would think about conversations in galleries going one thing like this: “Excuse me, was this artist on medicine?” “Why sure, in reality. She took massive doses of psylocybin when she made this. It’s proper right here in her manifesto…..”

See many extra Witkacy portraits at the Public Area Assessment.

Associated Content material:

When Aldous Huxley, Dying of Most cancers, Left This World Tripping on LSD, Experiencing “the Most Serene, the Most Lovely Loss of life” (1963)

Artist Attracts 9 Portraits Whereas on LSD: Contained in the Fifties Experiments to Flip LSD right into a “Creativity Capsule”

R. Crumb Describes How He Dropped LSD within the 60s & Immediately Found His Creative Fashion

Take a Journey to the LSD Museum, the Largest Assortment of “Blotter Artwork” within the World

Josh Jones is a author and musician primarily based in Durham, NC. Comply with him at @jdmagness