Why no one heard about so many Polish artists is — verily, verily — something to make foreigners angry. Every time anyone is satisfied with their English reads, visions, produce of the monolingual civilisation, there could be at least two irritants in the back of their mind:
#1: Hmm, maybe a haiku born somewhere far away is worth more than all Shakespeare – and I can walk no way to find out?
#2: Hmm, maybe that haiku was never written because its author died in poverty, as most funds went to promote Shakespeare?
Release your anger. I’m giving you a short list of ‘why da heck don’t I know ’em‘ artists:
PAINTING: Andrzej Wróblewski, died 30, when mountaineering. (Admittedly, a James Deany way of dying scores bonus points for the artist.) If you want to get a handful of his pictures on fine paper, buy this thing. Mind, it’s not an album of Wróblewski’s paintwork.
It is Arw, a script by Stanisław Czycz [a weirdnik in his own right], about Wróblewski’s life. The script was never put in motion – had it been, the movie would have been made by an honorary Oscar awardee, Andrzej Wajda, who commissioned the script-writing. You may want to find out for yourself why.
POETRY: Bolesław Leśmian. This one is tough — to fully appreciate the flavour of the whisky Leśmian (though I think he’d probably think of himself as absinth, fresh meadow fragrant), one needs to know Polish natively, have a knack for words. Appreciation for deathly eroticism is appreciated, too. If your favourite scene of Wuthering Heights was Heathcliff lovingly opening Cathy’s grave, you’ll catch it.
Leśmian is a good way to find out if your Polish is native enough. If you don’t find anything extraordinary in the guy’s work, you still have much to learn. (It goes for several millions Poles, too, I know. So?)
SCULPTURE: Read here: “This artist / sculptor created and wrote more by age 30 than DaVinci did his whole life.”. The opinion comes from Maynard James Keenan (of Tool, one of so few things why America should be spared, for a time.) Whom does he mean?
Stanisław Szukalski, his name flowing a bit more vividly in the memesphere recently. I spotted several sources about the artist this year, and if this post could be another straw that breaks the silence’s neck, may it be! Some intro in Polish here. Some info in English here. Propagate the meme, people. Sons of Yeti, as he would dub you, don’t you love the guy who made this?
POLITICS: The mere alliteration should catch your attention: “poet, private printer, pamphleteer, pagan and pretender to the Polish throne” — Phrone would be as good. — Or Phorn. Well yes, Potocki de Montalk, a Polish New Zealander, authored “Here Lies John Penis“.
FILM: I can’t tag Jan Potocki (yes, another by that name) in any Polish category, for his Saragossa Manuscript was written in French. But the book–based movie was all Polish.
“Luis Bunuel (who seldom viewed movies more than once) liked the film so much he watched it three times” — Which makes 9 hours of watching. (I think I already said that.) — Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese financed the restoration of the movie. (Their efforts are the other of so few things why America should be spared, for a time.) [Wait, wait, maybe I must not put Potocki in any human category? For all we know, “we” including Neil Gaiman here, Potocki was a werewolf. He died like one, at least.]
MUSIC: No way. Music speaks One Language. I mean, if I can easily pick up a Polish folk dance in the main Godzilla theme, for instance, why should one translate music? And into what?
I have more. But your suggestions for additions are welcome.