Elżbieta Łubowicz, REALITY IS A TEXT.
On ‘Concept-Shapes’ by Stanisław Dróżdż
beginend. The Sources of ‘Concept-Shapes’
In contemporary, postmodern art, works combining text and graphics do not evoke any amazement anymore. Inter-media reference are one of the most conspicuous tendencies in contemporary artistic activities. However, in the second half of the 1960s when Stanisław Dróżdż started his concretist work, the artistic methods which combined poetry and graphics were still surprising and his first works seemed either too simple or too hermetic in their form. Pre-war experiments with graphic arrangement in poetry (poems by Przyboś in the system developed by Władysław Strzemiński, works by Mieczysław Szczuka) were not continued after the war. Concrete poetry, in turn, which had developed worldwide since the mid-1950s, was then at the decline of its bloom. Anyway, the development of this experimental poetic strategy was taking place on the margin of mainstream literature and came belatedly to Poland, which those days was separated from the West.
Stanisław Dróżdż unwaveringly continued his works from the threshold of poetry and art and initiated the concretist movement in Poland.
Although delayed, it developed lively in the 1970s. In 1979 he published an anthology of Polish concrete poetry, conducted five theoretical sessions on this trend and organised a number of exhibitions which featured also the works of foreign poets such as Václav Havel, who created this kind of poetry, more popular in the Czech Republic than in Poland. This most interesting and the most persistent Polish concretist admitted that he had often been told that this trend had no future as his ideas would be soon exhausted. However, the converse happened: his works developed in such a direction which had not been predicted by him or by anybody else at the beginning of his artistic work. This led him to the position of one of the most original and innovative Polish artists invited to participate in significant exhibitions of avant-garde art (significantly, that was art and not literature). Finally, his installation Alea Iacta Est became the main official Polish proposal at the Biennale in Venice in 2003.
What made his invention in oscillating between poetry and fine arts so prolific throughout forty years of his work? While looking at this oeuvre and listening to the artist’s self-evaluation, we can discover that this invention originated from questions asked by the artist to himself. These questions undermined such elementary and obvious rules of constructing literary works that nobody would even think not only of questioning them, but of a mere notice of their presence. He was particularly interested in the fact that a poem or poetry begin and end in a certain place. He also pondered on single words, letters or digits which on closer examination appeared to contain unbelievable spaces of signification.
Works by Dróżdż neither begin nor end, but emerge from the whiteness or blackness for a moment in order to disperse again in their darkness or brightness without ultimately defining their meaning and outline1, wrote Tadeusz Sławek, the most persistent and observant commentator of his works. The author himself admitted in his interview with Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka: At a certain time, after reading dozens or even hundreds of set books, and I had really a lot of them to read, I realised that it was not what I intended to achieve. Firstly, each poem, drama or novel had its beginning and ending. I was wondering where this beginning had originated from. “In the beginning there was a word” – I do not allude to this quotation without any reason – and not simply “The hounds set out for the forest”… as it was in the novels by Żeromski. Then when it comes to poems, as I was interested mainly in poetry, why do poems start with a phrase like “Daddy has not been coming back evenings or mornings”…, daddy left long time ago and what was then? What happened when he finally returned? Was mummy happy? I was haunted by such questions. So I simply decided to write something without any beginning or ending which could defy the frames of the beginning and ending and I hope that in most cases I managed to achieve it2.
The works by Dróżdż are without any beginning or ending: their construction indicates that they have been taken from the middle of a text which is continuously and invisibly ‘being written’ somewhere else and through this visible lack of frames they indicate their absent beginning and ending. Their core rule is to emphasise their own fragmentariness and thereby the fragmentariness of our perception of the world.
This unknown beginning and ending in the works by Stanisław Dróżdż may refer to the space as well as to time. It appears as early as in his traditional poems: Miniatury [Miniatures], już – jeszcze – już [already – yet – already], Na początku jest koniec [At the Beginning, There Is the Ending] and in his first concretist works from 1967. We know what IS now, but what WAS before our birth? What WILL BE after our death? That is the subject of Klepsydra [The Sandglass], poza [beyond] (1971) and koło [circle / near] (1972) refer to this problem in its spatial aspect, while the work Czasoprzestrzennie [Timely-Spatially] from 1969 (OD-DO) concern both aspects of this problem. The question of beginning and ending is developed in the work początekoniec [beginend], which appeared several times in various versions throughout twenty-four years. Its first concept based on combining two words dates back to 1971. The three-board version in the form of ‘classical’ black letters on the white board was created in 1978 and presented in 1981 in Foksal Gallery. Seventeen years later, in 1995, the artist returned to it and realised it in an inverted version (white letters on the black board) in the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom.
The problem of beginning and ending seems to be the key issue in the works by Stanisław Dróżdż. His determination to reach what exceeds our experience, understanding and imagination pervades all his oeuvre. It manifests itself as a visible deprivation of the work of its beginning and ending or, conversely, as an attempt to close the whole in the works consisting of many elements, where all the possibilities and variants have been used from the beginning to the end according to precise mathematical rules of combination and permutation. This first possibility has been applied in a number of works made on board as well as in three large-scale three-dimensional works which take up the entire space of the room – a white cubicle which houses them: między [in-between] (1977), so-called ‘klamki’ [door handles] (untitled work, 1999) and ‘żyłki’ [fishing lines] (untitled work, 2002). Their form implies as if the walls were moving apart, dematerialising so that the work can expand infinitely in all directions. The other possibility was realised inter alia in the installation Alea Iacta Est presented at the Biennale in Venice composed of 250,000 dice filling to capacity the enormous walls of the Polish Pavilion. The centre of the hall was occupied by a dice table with dice and cup, so that each viewer could play and find their sequence on the wall among 46,656 possible ones.
In the work początekoniec [beginend], the beginning joins the ending without leaving any space for the centre. The beginning unnoticeably becomes the ending, whereas the ending is still at the beginning. Nobody knows, then, either where the beginning of the beginning ends and its ending starts, or where the beginning of the ending is. The tautology applied here exposed the word, which remained a language entity, to detailed observation and description which provided it with specific, concrete materiality. While developing the concepts of his works frequently based on juxtapositions, inquisitive as the paradoxes of Zeo from Elea on the elementary concepts of being, Stanisław Dróżdż enjoyed the word as well as the object, both of which he was turning in his hands towards different directions and tapping in order to hear what would resound in them.
The Path of Development. Between Poetry and Fine Arts
He started exactly from literature and poetry. In the mid 1960s he wrote linguistic poems, with Miron Białoszewski and Tymoteusz Karpowicz as his masters. He was awarded for these poems the Crystal Lion Award at the Kłodzko Poetic Spring in 1965. They contained the same subjects and problems which he would further develop in his concretist poetics as well as the key words which he would further place in the works which applied the same way of recording or in their titles: it was, it is, it will be; the growth of decline, life-death, at the beginning there is an ending. In these brief poems, the increasingly significant element was the very works printed on paper and the empty space of this piece of paper which surrounded it. The words became material. The year 1967 brought the first ‘concept-shape’ as the author called it, being unaware that this kind of work is an example of concrete poetry. That was Zapominanie [Forgetting] further followed by Było, jest, będzie [It Was, It Is, It Will Be] entitled Klepsydra [The Sandglass], Optimum, Samotność [Loneliness], Trwanie [Duration]. This direction of development resulted naturally and consequently from poetry and from his individual and original approach to it, based on a progressive and increasingly radical reduction of the language content of the poem. Not until the year following the creation of the first works of this kind had their author known where to place his works in the context of already existing avant-garde trend. That year his friend, the poet Bogusław Sławomir Kunda, gave him a Czech anthology of concrete poetry.
In his subsequent works he used, apart from verbal language, mathematical symbols as well as digits, numbers and simple mathematical operations: permutations and combinations thereby constructing the structure composed of many elements and stretched in space. At the very beginning, in 1968 he presented his works on boards in the exhibition space of County and Municipal Libraries in Wrocław (which accompanied his meeting with recipients of his art), then in the legendary Gallery Pod Moną Lisą in Wrocław run by Jerzy Ludwiński and afterwards, the following year – in the Gallery odNowa in Poznań run by Andrzej Matuszewski. In 1971 he started a regular cooperation with Foksal Gallery in Warsaw, which was the cradle of Polish avant-garde. He organised there his fourteen individual exhibitions including his well-known work między [in-between] presented there in 1977 which initiated a series of works exceeding a flat surface of the board and entering three-dimensional space of the exhibition hall. This cooperation, mainly owing to Wiesław Borowski, who managed the Gallery, greatly contributed to popularisation of his works in Poland and abroad.
Three years before, in 1974, he used for the first time a material object-sign instead of writing. It was a mountain stone placed near the iron sphere by Andrzej Wojciechowski, the co-author of this work, entitled Dwie doskonałości: kula i kamień [Two Perfections: Sphere and Stone]. Another time he used ready objects was in 1978, when he designed an untitled work composed of clocks and then, after a long break, in 1999 in the spatial installation constructed of black metal door handles in a white room. These door handles were the signs intended to evoke an image of a door. The work was presented as part of the exhibition Conceptual Reflection in Polish Art. The Experience of Discourse 1965-1975 held in the Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw. The core idea of this installation and of the work między [in-between] was the installation which featured the space of Foksal Gallery tightly filled with ‘strings’ of nylon fishing lines (2002). In the year 2003 Dróżdż presented the work composed only of objects, i.e. dice, which represented Poland at the Biennale in Venice.
The development of Stanisław Dróżdż’s oeuvre from linguistic poetry to a game of dice is consistent and logical: on the one hand, the application of the visual side of sign as the signifying element led, initially, to annexing the surface of the page in the book and then to going beyond a piece of paper and onto boards and into the three-dimensional space of the room. On the other hand, though, his works evolved from the word-concrete to the object-sign. This way, in spite of being simple and clear, leads to completely new areas, reaching deeper and deeper inside the realms of visual arts rather than literature. Was the border between poetry and visual arts definitely crossed at a certain moment and did it mean moving the creation of this poet completely to the area of visual arts, especially due to the fact that it functioned in art galleries rather than in literary journals? If so, when did it happen? Was that the moment of transition from a typescript to the boards hung on the walls, which happened around 1968? Or maybe it occurred in the first numerical work Samotność [Loneliness] created in the same year, one which abandoned verbal language? Or maybe the display of między [in-between] in an open area? Or perhaps later, with the ‘door handles’ where inside the room there is no sign of language (but there is a composition constructed of the prepositions ‘under’ and ‘over’ placed on external walls…)? Or perhaps did it happen in ‘żyłki’ [fishing lines] composed only of nylon fishing lines without either verbal or numerical element?
A number of opinions formulated mainly by art theoreticians and exhibition curators, claim that although Stanisław Dróżdż considered himself as a poet, his works belong to modern art (understood as visual arts) as one of the variants of conceptual art3. This trend, in fact, appeared in the world in the mid-1960s, which was exactly the time of the appearance of first concretist works by Dróżdż4 who, not groundlessly, participated in the exhibition Sztuka Pojęciowa [Conceptual Art] in the Gallery Pod Moną Lisą (1970). There are many common strategies which link the art by Dróżdż with conceptualism; these range from the use of concepts, to the application of the text in space and the use of tautology.
Nevertheless, there are also such theoreticians as Zbigniew Makarewicz who claims in his thorough and erudite study5 that the works by Stanisław Dróżdż belong to a new artistic category developed on the border of visual arts and literature as a result of avant-garde artistic actions in the second half of the 20th century, which led to exceeding the realms of particular artistic disciplines and creating on these borderlines new and so far unknown kinds and genres of creation. Concrete poetry is, in his opinion, one of these practices.
What makes the problem more complicated is the method applied by the artist who, having achieved new formal solutions and traversed ever new borders, returned in his art to previously used forms, which were closer to pieces of traditional poetry based on words composed of letters (Ja [I], Przemijanie [Passing Away] (1998) or even continued his initial works strictly connected with verbal language. For instance, he wrote in 2006 the sole word, which alluded to the works the word and two words created at the beginning of the 1970s, He also continued the motif of ‘prepositions’ from the year 1969 (Czasoprzestrzennie, [Timely-Spatially] also known as OD-DO) throughout poza [beyond] (1971) and koło [circle / near] (1972), między [in-between] (1977) to Algebra przyimków [The Algebra of Prepositions] (1987) and przyimki [prepositions] (1996) and their new version from 2006.
Everything indicates that his oeuvre developed in two parallel ways: on the one hand, that was an evolution from a piece of paper to three-dimensional space and from language signs to the application of material objects. On the other hand it was a continuous interest in the possibilities of investigating language itself. My observations and conversations with the author on his works using objects (‘klamki’ [door handles], ‘żyłki’ [fishing lines], Alea Iacta Est) made me develop an impression as if he considered the transition of his works into space (meaning the realisation of między [in-between] in 1977) as a real breakthrough in his own art, nearly equal to the transition from traditional poems to ‘concept-shapes’, whereas the application of real objects was not so significant for him. He was wondering why this technique attracted so much interest of theoreticians because he treated it as a continuation of operating on signs carried out in a slightly different way. The trace of such thinking is noticeable in his conversation with Jaromir Jedliński held in 20066, where the artist approaches his installation based on dice presented in Venice as a subsequent ‘numerical’ work based on digits and numbers.
This leitmotiv appears particularly important as it indicates that language signs as well as the objects used as these signs were dual, semantic-and-concrete beings to him. As words or digits which could become objects in concrete poetry, material objects could be approached as signs. What needs to be emphasised is that while entering the area of the work of art, real objects did not lose their real existence and did not become only symbols of abstract concepts. They functioned in their dual, concrete-and-abstract nature.
While trying to ascribe the works of the artist to any specific artistic discipline, we encounter a third possibility: these are elements of visual arts, i.e. space and the material object, which were incorporated into the realms of experimental poetry and extended the notion of literature (which should be called then ‘liberature’, as proposed by Grzegorz Dziamski in his essay published in this book). That was what Stanisław Dróżdż really thought. He entitled almost all his exhibitions: Pojęciokształty. Poezja konkretna [Concept-Shapes. Concrete Poetry]. He always considered himself a poet and not a visual artist. In his conversation with Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka he said openly: I am disgusted when someone refers to what I create as fine art although I belong to the Association of Polish Artists and Designers (laughter). Concrete poetry is a completely integral discipline, whereas it may use the means of the other areas of art (excluding poetry), which does not prevent it from being concrete poetry. Water which flows through the mill wheel is the same water which is before the mill wheel. It performs a certain work and returns to itself. But you know, an art historian may make a mistake. You must emphasise in your text that Dróżdż says that he has nothing to do with art but he deals with poetry7. Characteristically, although his works functioned in the circulation of art exhibitions, galleries and museums, they were of great interests mainly to experts in literature such as: Tadeusz Sławek, Jacek Wesołowski, Sergiusz Sterna-Wachowiak, and Paweł Majerski.
The best-known works – Zapominanie [Forgetting], Klepsydra [The Sandglass], między [in-between], koło [circle / near] – became with time, in the 1990s, icons of avant-garde art, which although was still Polish art, was reaching worldwide scale. What is particularly interesting, the most popular works abroad were those based on single Polish words. In this case, language is no limit of any kind. It is enough to translate the key word in the inscription below the work in order to make the significance of a given piece understandable for a foreigner. This property of ‘concept-shapes’ was consciously considered by Stanisław Dróżdż as a relevant and desirable value which enables speakers of various tongues to communicate through poetry. He emphasised the universal aspect of his concrete poetry works in his manifesto Pojęciokształty [Concept-Shapes]8.
These works, however, soon became widely recognised not in terms of literature but art, or more exactly: ‘visual arts’, although their author so decisively declared that he did not fit this description. It cannot escape our notice that their graphical form is always very meticulously developed, often with the assistance of visual artists and designers. Even the first board works were prepared by Stanisław R. Kortyka (a painter, poet and book designer) for the exhibition in the County and Municipal Libraries in Wrocław and for the exhibitions in the galleries Pod Moną Lisą and odNowa – by Barbara Kozłowska and Zbigniew Makarewicz. Later on, Stanisław Dróżdż worked also with the other artists such as the typographer Michał Bieganowski and the graphic artist Iwar Romanek, with both of whom he had the longest cooperation. With time, however, he gained more and more control not only over the visual conceptions but also over ready graphical solutions, which he could not realise himself due to his illness.
A precise visual form of works reduced to the simplest signs-ideograms (in a decisively modernist style, devoid of any decorative qualities) often expanding into three-dimensional space, distinguishes them from the majority of the works of international concrete poetry. The works by such artists as Václav Havel or the Swiss concrete poet Eugen Gomringer, believed to be the classic of this discipline, develop spatially mainly within a piece of paper or, possibly, a board on a wall. Stanisław Dróżdż, however, went further towards art than the other concrete poets9. Nevertheless, he still considered himself a poet. Remaining in the sphere ‘in-between’ (which is immensely important to him), on the threshold of art and poetry, he was convinced that the place where he set off from was of the same importance as the destination. Was he right there? Only a thorough analysis of the aesthetics of his work can justify his conviction.
Does the wide range of Stanisław Dróżdż’s oeuvre, which includes literature, visual arts and theatre, have any important meaning for its reception? In my opinion, it is not an exact categorisation of his works but a careful consideration of the problems related to them which can significantly contribute to a proper understanding of their sense. That is not necessarily the sense expressed directly in his particular works but the one which is deeply concealed in the very foundations of the entire oeuvre. This sense is related to the obvious and undeniable values for the artist, which are the keystones for the foundation of his attitude to life and art. These values are present in the aesthetic principles of his works which result directly from them and which are pervaded by them.
Aesthetics of ‘Concept-Shapes’
1. Between the Opposites
The aesthetics of the works by Stanisław Dróżdż was strictly defined – at the very beginning of his artistic pursuits – and its rules formulated in the 1968 self-commentary Concept-Shapes were rigorously respected by the author.
He operated with words, letters, punctuation marks, and digits released from a linguistic structure or a mathematical system and ‘thrown’ into another visual context. This lack of system (linguistic or mathematical) within which these signs usually function intrigued the viewers and generated the necessity for creating a new one, so that the sign could signify anything. In this way, an autonomous sign proved the importance of the network of relations which is fundamental for each language and which the sign has been just released from. The autonomy of the sign is the first and elementary rule of concrete poetry and it was approached as such by the leading Polish concretist: All in all, concrete poetry is about isolating the word and its becoming autonomous. It gets isolated from the language context as well as from the para-language reality, so that the word seems to mean itself and for itself10.
In turn, the main feature which distinguished ‘concept-shapes’ from other types of concrete poetry was the equivalence of the concept and its form, the equivalence of the signifying and visual elements, of the graphic and language elements. Only in their cooperation did these two elements form one work of art. Stanisław Dróżdż flatly rejected the practice typical of calligrams whose graphic form only illustrates their content and is its secondary product: […] It occurred that someone wrote an eulogy, epitaph or an epigram and inscribed these texts in an outline of a figure such as a cross or an hourglass, etc., but that was not concrete poetry. In concrete poetry the form is determined by the content and the content by the form. That is the fundamental autonomy of the word and the basic distinguishing feature11. In his own works, meaning does not appear without using an adequate form of record which respects the entire visual context of applied signs. Equally important as the concepts expressed by means of signs are all the spatial elements of the record in two- or three-dimensional space: the size and type of fonts, its blackness contrasted with the whiteness of paper (or vice versa), the reciprocal relation of the filled up space and empty space and proportions between them. There are no areas in the visual form of the work which would not be significant.
These are the principles informing the first concretist piece, Zapominanie [Forgetting]. They were explicitly defined in the author’s commentary on the works presented those days in the Gallery Pod Moną Lisą, which was published in the journal Odra in December, 196812 (the text is written in a slightly hermetic and unclear language, though). They were compliant with the indicators of this discipline formulated by Brazilian authors of the concrete poetry manifesto13 but divergent with actual practice. Anthologies of this type of art14 presented sometimes pictorial poems close to calligrams or diverse designer games with texts. For Stanisław Dróżdż, however, concrete poetry was tantamount in its aesthetics (he himself applied the term ‘poetics’ here) to his idiosyncratic idea of ‘concept-shapes’.
This concrete poet referred to his own works as ‘ideograms’ (that it how he called them in his manifesto published in “Odra”), thereby exposing their action as a condensed, textual and visual sign. The reduction of form to the minimum is a subsequent crucial rule of the aesthetics of ‘concept-shapes’. ‘The poem’ is composed of one or at best two words (Words do not lie, whereas sentences do. The word cannot lie. The lie begins where we put three words together, he admitted in his conversation with Maria Cyranowicz and Jarosław Lipszyc15); several letters or even only one, only punctuation marks, digits from 0 to 9, as well as simple and strict rules of their system: repetition, combination, permutation. The intention of this attempt to reduction was an idea of ‘the less, the more’: a simplified form became a signal which released imagination – its general character enabled various interpretations. Another element of this simplified form is its reduction to two colours: black and white.
From the very beginning to the end of his work on ‘concept-shapes’, Stanisław Dróżdż applied only blackness and whiteness. The same was true of the works based on material objects such as door handles, dice, draughts, and chess. This rule stemmed undoubtedly from the visual form of the printed text: black fonts contrasting with the white background of a book page. Sticking to these colours always emphasised the connection of his work with literature. His first works, which were initially created as typescripts formed of black fonts on a white background, gained with time a new inverted form: a white text appeared on a black background. That refers to Zapominanie [Forgetting], Samotność [Loneliness], the triptych Niepewność – Wahanie – Pewność [Uncertainty – Hesitation-Certainty], Mikro-Makro [Micro-Macro], and the work początekoniec [beginend].
This technique provided ‘concept-shapes’ with a distinctive visual character and emphasised their graphic aspect. The contrast of blackness and whiteness in visual arts has strong symbolic meanings. Dróżdż consciously referred to them using them in various ways depending on the content of particular works. In Zapominanie [Forgetting] the emergence of white letters from the blackness of the background implied the opposition of the vi-sible and the invisible, and subsequently of being and non-being. In the work początekoniec [beginend] this sense is also complemented by existential connotations referring to life and death, whereas między [in-between] and lub [or] evoke associations with the concept of specific individual being and infinity.
Probably this whiteness and blackness was related, in the author’s imagination, also to photography. In 1979 he participated in two exhibitions in Foto-Medium-Art Gallery in Wrocław which promoted an avant-garde programme focused on the property of photography as a particular, autonomous medium16. One of the exhibitions was of a significant title Czerń i biel [Blackness and Whiteness]. Artistic photography those days was almost only black-and-white and this element of its form was of great importance among the distinguishing features of this medium. Supposedly, his contact with photo-media movement, which was particularly strong in Wrocław mainly owing to the activity of the Foto-Medium Art Gallery, reinforced Stanisław Dróżdż’s conviction that the autonomy of ‘concept-shapes’ based on the aforementioned principles should be respected. In the conversation quoted above he emphasised that: Concrete poetry is a completely integral discipline which may, however, apply the means of the other disciplines of art (not poetry!) but that does not prevent it from being concrete poetry17.
The basic principles of the aesthetics of works by Stanisław Dróżdż include cooperation of equivalent aspects of text in terms of its meaning and visual form, a reduction of form to the minimum, application of blackness and whiteness as the only colours, all of which defined orthodox rules of concrete poetry, were rigorously and consistently obeyed by him and became a recognisable sign of his poetry. Their more original and idiosyncratic nature was revealed in another, equally consistently applied rule of his works: in the aforementioned act of the work’s ‘cutting’ out a fragment from a whole, which implied the existence of its invisible continuation. That is where there arises a strong analogy between the form of these works and the photo frame based on cutting out a rectangular image from the view of reality, which indicates the existence of default complementation being absent in the frame. The fragment confirms unmistakeably that the whole exists (Continuum, trwanie [duration], Data [The Date], lub [or], ‘klamki’ [door handles]…). Works by Dróżdż are perceived as poetry-graphics inscribed in the poetic-graphical tradition which dates back to the ancient carmina figurata. They have also a lot in common with photographic sensitivity and thinking based on a photograph frame. Their visual character is connected with modern sensitivity formed on printed texts and technical images.
What were the foundations of the aesthetic principles applied by Stanisław Dróżdż in his ‘concept-shapes’? What did they mean for him in their foundations? Where, for instance, does this powerful attempt to a maximum reduction of form stem from? The minimised element of language (sign) was always juxtaposed by him with an empty space (white or black in colour) of a piece of paper, board or with a space of a room. What exists indicates a significantly wider area of absence and non-existence. Such a disproportion, especially in the works which annex space such as między [in-between], lub [or], ‘klamki’ [door handles], ‘żyłki’ [fishing lines], evokes in our imagination an association with an abyss of infinity. The act of ‘framing’ the works has a similar sense. While looking at them, we realise that only a fragment of what we are not able to conceive is available to our perception. The reality around us significantly exceeds our measure.
Equivalence and the reciprocal indestructible connection between the signifying and the visual element in ‘concept-shapes’ seems to indicate, on the basis of metonymy, a more general phenomenon: a similar character of relations between the mind and a real world, between its spiritual and material aspects as well as, in the case of a human being, between the body and the soul. This conviction, which results from the Christian foundations of Stanisław Dróżdż’s attitude, is, in his case, something much more significant than only an abstract outlook. The reciprocal relation between the body and the soul was also sensed by him particularly severely in its entire burden, taking a shape of the cross, like two opposites expressed in the piece Życie – Śmierć [Life – Death].
Shape and thought, the visible and the invisible, matter and spirit, being and non-being, life and death: we are sentenced to exist between the opposites whose meanings is becoming visible to us against the background of this other, opposite concept. Black signs indicate the existence of a white background and vice versa – white signs make black background significant (białe – czarne [white-black], 1970). An edge of a piece of paper or a board indicates the invisible which exists beyond it. The words, letters and punctuation marks released from the linguistic system indicate only its existence. The space of the work implies time which is absent there (Zapominanie [Forgetting], Klepsydra [The Sandglass], Data [The Date]). Although the borders between the opposites do exist (like those between blackness and whiteness), we rarely manage to recognise them as one form imperceptibly turns into the other, as can be observed in the work początekoniec [beginend]. We try to capture them with our own mind using our dual, black-and-white logic developed on Greek philosophy. However, while adjusting this dual scheme to reality, we always notice that reality exceeds all human measures…
Both the juxtaposition of the opposites and the situation of being ‘in-between’ were for Stanisław Dróżdż immensely significant and important. That is why, linguistic and mathematical signs released from the structure of the system indicated what was the most important: the network of reciprocal relations, something which is ‘in-between’: between one word and the next, between letter and letter, between the human being and another human being, between the human being and God. That is how the artist sensed and understood his universal human position towards the world: always between the opposites, in an insecure area, which was so difficult to cognise; always in searching and uncertainty, with hesitation and hope for security (triptych Niepewność – Wahanie – Pewność [Uncertainty – Hesitation – Certainty], 1967).
Summarising the fundamental sense of the main principles which constitute the aesthetics of ‘concept-shapes’, we should draw our attention to the principle which lies at the basis of all these rules. For the concrete poet who always pays much heed to the autonomy of his discipline based on strictly defined indicators, only the existence of these undeniable principles was of great value. It was a point of support which enabled moving in this insecure reality and the attempts of cognising it were an exploration of distant spaces hardly reached by human imagination. The works by Stanisław Dróżdż, for whom each physical movement was becoming more and more difficult, appeared in his mind like space probes sent into unexplored space. That was what the concept-objects which he created and sent into the universe served him for.
2. Between Concrete Art and Conceptual Art
Since the basic principles of the aesthetics of Stanisław Dróżdż’s works have been presented, it is the time to return to more fundamental questions inherent in the notions of ‘concept-shapes’ and ‘concrete poetry’ applied by the author to describe his work.
‘The concrete’ is the opposite of the ‘abstract’ as ‘object’ is the opposite of ‘idea’. Even a semantic analysis of these names implies a contradiction: the latter name focuses on the concrete, the object, whereas the former one emphasises concept, the abstract. In practice, the artist considered them equally appropriate – his idiosyncratic ‘concept shapes’ were equivalent to ‘concrete poetry’. That apparently strange situation has a really simple but paradoxical solution. Providing the previously ‘invisible’ language sign with a visual shape is a practice which leads to concretisation, i.e. ‘reification’. An abstract notion becomes a concrete material item inscribed in the world of the other items, which are not (at least do not have to be) signs. Tadeusz Sławek presented the core of such an action in a simple and visual form: We can understand concrete poetry more similarly to the way in which we understand ‘rain’ rather than the way we conceive the sonnet18. One of these two names exposes more the input (concept), whereas the other – the output (the concrete).
The paradox of abstraction-concrete was revealed in the manifesto of ‘concrete art’ by Theo van Doesburg (Art Concret, 1930), which referred to abstract art based on geometry whose main value was the concreteness of artistic material. Therefore, the name was adopted, with a similar intention, by Brazilian authors of a concrete poetry manifesto (1955). Hans Arp, one of the representatives of concrete art, defined the core of this art like Tadeusz Sławek: […] in the enormous studio of nature, paintings, sculptures and objects should remain anonymous like clouds, seas, mountains, and people19. The same tradition influenced Stanisław Dróżdż who approached the concretist formula of his work from the perspective of poetry, providing the word with an object-like character.
However, what could be interpreted as an unusual coincidence or maybe intensively acting ‘spirit of place and time’, at the moment when he developed his author aesthetics of ‘concept-shapes’ (the first public presentation during his show in February 1968), a powerful movement of concrete poetry appeared in Wrocław. The theory and practice related to this avant-garde formula focuses mainly around the Gallery Pod Moną Lisą run by Jerzy Ludwiński, which housed the solo exhibition of Stanisław Dróżdż’s works accompanied by a presentation of works by Zbigniew Makarewicz20. Since this time his works have been present in galleries where they have functioned as part of conceptual art, although the author himself rejects the notion of being a conceptualist.
What does the reciprocal relation of ‘concept-shapes’ and conceptual art consist in? That is a difficult question because the borders and specific features of conceptualism are rather fluent: this trend may be understood in a wider or narrower range and, depending on the theoretical attitude adopted, it may or may not include certain artistic activities. In my opinion, what would be a more promising solution in this case is the juxtaposition of aesthetic rules of the works by Dróżdż with a list of ‘new art’ features proposed by Jerzy Ludwiński in his historical article Art in Post-Artistic Times21 published in “Odra” two years after his exhibition in the Gallery.
There is one among eight innovative features of the actions organised in those years as listed by Ludwiński which does not refer to Dróżdż’s works, namely an action carried out in time. (Obviously, art regarded as conceptual did not have to possess all these features). When it comes to the remaining ones, only two may be unquestioningly ascribed to his works: ‘devaluation of the original and personal production of the work of art by the artist’ and ‘another record of a work of art’. The latter feature is, in the case of Dróżdż, inverted. Ludwiński writes about artists who register their conceptions applying means reserved so far to literature, whereas in the case of Stanisław Dróżdż these are literary texts which are registered using means of visual arts.
However, the property such as ‘the complication of the relation: artist – work of art – audience’ (which disturbs their traditional roles) does not apply to his art at all. The work is simply the work, the author is just the author, whereas the recipient is the recipient and only this one may at least find themselves inside the work of art (między [in-between], ‘klamki’ [door handles]) and perform an action which will not impact its structure (Alea Iacta Est). Likewise, the principle of ‘exceeding the traditional artistic system’ which consists in removing borders between art and reality and relates to the previously mentioned one, does not apply here. The works by Dróżdż are explicitly set in a realm isolated from reality. Their author usually inscribed them into ‘the white tube’ being so classical for modernism. The unique space of this cube formed a kind of enclave for art. A piece of paper, which becomes a visible background and context for the sign, turns in his paintings into an image: an area which is autonomous with respect to the surrounding reality.
Three remaining principles of ‘new art’ are definitely contradictory to the works by Dróżdż. ‘Complete elimination of the material object’ is inapplicable as these works are subject to an inverse process: providing concepts with a material shape. Although the visual effect in these works and conceptual art may be similar (a text on a wall), their sense remains fundamentally different. It becomes clear at this point that the poet-concretist had justified reasons for emphasising the literary origins of his works. What the visual artist perceives as minimising the material form, the poet will consider as providing the elements of language, existing so far only as concepts, with maximum materiality.
A subsequent feature: ‘shifting the main focus from the structural sphere (whether it be timely or spatially) to the conceptual one’ cannot be referred to the oeuvre by Dróżdż for the same reasons. Both these aspects of work are in the right balance, which is intended and compliant with the program.
Particular attention should be given to the last (the sixth) of the principles listed by Ludwiński defined as ‘a complete split of the work of art in its spatially as well as timely structure’. Concrete poetry by Dróżdż was also referred to at the beginning as ‘structural poetry’ and presented in odNowa Gallery in Poznań in 1969 under this title22. The structure of a work developed so meticulously that each of its visual elements is of particular importance is one of the first principles of ‘concept-shapes’, which has been mentioned above. An important role of the language system, which particular elements are removed from, originates from Dróżdż’s inspirations by structuralism focusing on understanding many phenomena as a system whose elements are interconnected with the network of reciprocal relations. Such a vision of reality appeared to be truly fascinating to the author of such pieces as między [in-between] and many other works applying prepositions and conjunctions.
The above analysis clearly demonstrates that according to the criteria adopted by Jerzy Ludwiński, ‘concept-shapes’ did not really answer the description of conceptual art. The convergences were rather superficial or apparent. Anyway, apart from the text published in “Odra” in connection with the exhibition in 1968, this great art critic and theoretician has not dealt with the oeuvre of Dróżdż anymore. It seems that only the works which included material objects could be approached as conceptualism. In these works a concrete object was transformed into an abstract sign, which means that the author acted conversely to his standard formula. In this respect the oeuvre by Dróżdż should be compared with the works by Jarosław Kozłowski, as they both appear to be similar in terms of the attitudes adopted.
Other interesting conclusions appear while comparing his works with the works by Joseph Kosuth and Sol LeWitt, the foundation fathers of conceptualism. There are a number of similarities ranging from the application of text in works, to using tautology (Kosuth) and permutations (LeWitt). However, on deeper examination of the rules which govern them, here too we will find contradictions. First of all, the key objective of conceptualists was to create art beyond aesthetics. Dróżdż did not have any intentions like that. On the contrary, strict aesthetic principles of his own works were immensely important to him. His starting point and his destination was in poetry, which is the realm of metaphorical ambiguity (he applied reduced metaphor – metonymy) and not, as for the foundation fathers of conceptualists, philosophy based on unambiguous meanings. The key difference between the attitudes of Kosuth and Dróżdż manifests itself in a juxtaposition of their artistic manifestoes. For the former – that was a text That is a sentence, for the latter – the word.
‘Concept-shapes’ by Dróżdż only partly correspond with the mainstream of conceptualism. Perhaps, it should be admitted that it is poetry in his work which widens the spectrum of its activity and crosses its own borders like visual arts which have exceeded their own place in conceptualist’s practice. In this case, Dróżdż would do for poetry the same as conceptualism did for visual arts – he would expand its borders.
His works do not answer the aesthetics of conceptualism but are congruent with the photo-media movement, which, in spite of being peripheral in terms of its principles, was really powerful in Poland. Its key attempt to analyse media and its autonomy is analogical to what the artist proposed in his own works. While defining the essence of concrete poetry, he described its pieces as ‘self-realising’23. It is worth emphasising the significant fact that the key exhibition of Polish conceptual art Conceptual Reflection In Polish Art. The Experience of Discourse: 1965-1975 did not feature the works of photo-media artists because they exposed the autonomy of a medium instead of focusing on the inter-media aspect of form. Certainly, having remarked this affinity, I would like to emphasise an interesting analogy of attitudes rather than implying that the oeuvre of Dróżdż should be ascribed to photomedialism.
And how does the inter-media aspect relate to the works by Dróżdż? They seem to function already in the postmodern inter-media area, where the borders between the disciplines of widely conceived art do not have any particular meaning as they have been abolished by a number of various avant-garde actions. Dróżdż would definitely disapprove of such classification. In fact, he partly did it by distancing himself from any bonds with the latest artistic practice which applied texts in works of visual arts24. The main purpose of his action on the borderline of poetry and fine arts was not to abolish the border between these disciplines but to indicate their uniqueness by a new and intriguing combination of their elements in one piece. Such a position on the border, in the area ‘in-between’, was meaningful for him in so far as the borders of two neighbouring territories really existed. This very intention, emphasising the importance of the border, resounds in the above quoted fragment of a conversation where the artist uses the metaphor of water and a mill wheel for depicting what concrete poetry, compared to the poetry conceived in a traditional way, is about.
Crossing the borders while being aware of their existence inspires us to ask questions about what poetry and art exactly are and where their borders are located, where one starts and where the other ends. That is the moment when the question about ‘the beginning’ and ‘the end’ arises. However, in the situation when all the borders have been abolished, nothing provokes any surprise or raises any questions, whereas asking questions addressed to himself, to the interlocutor and to the world was for Stanisław Dróżdż the basic method of intellectual reflection on reality. In his conversations, he often asked questions and sometimes answered with his own question to a question posed to him. His ‘concept-shapes’ are actually and foremost questions about what cannot be conceived by the human mind.
3. System and Game
There is one more property of the aesthetics of Stanisław Dróżdż’s works which needs to be highlighted – their system-based character. The conceptions of his works were increasing in size with time, which was always carried out on the basis of a certain permanent rule, the author usually applied there a mathematical algorithm of combinations and permutations. Sometimes, he reached for an even simpler rule of repetition and multiplied the same word or digit until it covered the entire page of a catalogue or an exhibition board, vicariously transcending its edges (Samotność [Loneliness], Czasoprzestrzennie [Timely-Spatially], Continuum, trwanie [duration], między [in-between], ‘i’ [and], lub [or]…). Texts based on this principle seem to copy themselves automatically without the author’s participation. They have been fitted with a mechanism (a mathematical rule) which made them work somehow on their own. Sometimes, the earlier one-board works appeared in multi-element versions thereby developing into an entire system. That applies to Klepsydra [The Sandglass], initially planned to occupy one board and which with time was made on 54 ones (1990), to Czasoprzestrzennie [Timely-Spatially] developed on 82 boards (1993), to ‘i’ [and], extended from initial four boards to 88 ones (1997). This last work, which writhed around gallery walls like a growing ivy, even in its gigantic version was defined by its author in the subtitle as only a fragment: ‘i’ [and] (fragments).
The first work based on such a total system in terms of its mechanical activity was an untitled piece composed of 28 clocks. The boards with computer printouts attached to them included calculations of ten thousands possibilities of various combinations which the operations on hands and their movements could be subject to. The piece, with its immense totality which ignored any sense, verged on madness. Such an impression was intensified by the continuous, monotonous and laud ticking of the eighteen clocks (nine out of 27 were immobilised and 28 were dismantled into components). This work was created in 1978 and seems to be a particularly accurate commentary to Richard Dawkins’ book Blind Watchmaker published in 1986 which revealed the absurdity of the thesis of this author who regarded ‘blind’ forces of nature as the only drive of the world’s development.
Another kind of system consistently introduced by Stanisław Dróżdż into his works is the game: a system based on permanent and unalterable principles. While constructing the draughts with all the white checkers and exclusively white squares, he explicitly proves that a game cannot exist without a difference or even opposition of two values. He arranged his enormous Venice installation Alea Iacta Est also as a game where he applied all the results which can be obtained while playing dice. This work implies a game with fate and destiny. His last exhibition in Muzalewska Gallery in Poznań in 2007 was entitled Language Is a Game. Does it mean that a game is for him something more than one of different kinds of systems? Each system would be a network (a network of relations), while a game would be about the attempts of releasing oneself from this network, of entering beyond the system which becomes a trap. In his conversation with Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka he expressed his important opinion: There are areas of language which we benefit from and those which do not benefit us. We can choose and speculate. That is where the combinatorics of rules originates from. Language is a game not in a colloquial meaning of this word as a game of bridge, poker, chess, or volleyball. There is nothing funny about a game, madam. It is a Russian roulette25.
Adopting the notions of system and game is an essential property of the works of by Stanisław Dróżdż. It provides his ‘concept-shapes’ with really personal, individual traits distinguishing them from the other realisations of concrete poetry. On the background of three elementary rules of orthodox aesthetics of this discipline (simultaneous cooperation of language or visual elements, reduction of the form to minimum and application of the opposites of blackness and whiteness.), the application of a system in the total version also conceived as a game, appears even more to be the author’s conception rather than ‘framing’ texts. It brings a significantly greater weight of meaning…
4. The Art of the Pure Sign
Stanisław Dróżdż displayed a keen interest in language as one system, the most important one to him as it is based on the word which names the concepts operated by the brain. In the beginning there was a word – that is the biblical quotation he often referred to26 He even participated in an exhibition dedicated to the word27 which he applied in his work. Operating on the visual language recording (writing) he referred to the word perceived as printed text whose major graphic aspect is topography. He could be called a poet who, among the other concretists, consciously created works which belonged to ‘the Gutenberg era’. These works, in his case, were also aware of the end of their era marked by the replacement of writing by image, first printed and then electronic. He even joked about himself that he was such a mastodon who hangs around galleries28. Gutenberg’s Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan which came out in 1962 (in Poland in …) was a truly important publication for him. With time, it was becoming more and more common to approach his ‘concept-shapes’ as an epitaph to the era of print…
Besides language, the other system of signs which Dróżdż referred to was mathematics (before his studies at Polish philology, Dróżdż had studied at the Technical School of Agricultural Accountancy). Język i matematyka [Language and Mathematics] (1968), which belonged to first works, juxtaposed the elements of these two systems (later on the author noticed that he had made a mistake as instead of ‘mathematics’ the title should include ‘arithmetic’29 ). However, his imagination was supplied by all the signs of a system nature which involved various games (draughts, chess, dice) and objects which functioned in his works as material-semantic signs (door handles, fishing lines). He states that explicitly while answering a question asked by Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka:
MDG: You talk about the line as a form of sign – what is the relation in concrete poetry between this shape, between the line which you apply so often and the literal or metrical sign which appears in language?
SD: There is no difference between these signs as there is no difference between the letter and the word. Probably such a difference formally exists, but it does not matter for me as that is still a kind of language which I use and operate within.
His oeuvre can be defined as ‘the art of the pure sign’ as it consists in isolating the sign from its original system within which it operates and ‘throwing’ it into a new system of significations. ‘Art’ would have a comprehensive meaning in this context which would emphasise artistic activity conceived as a whole and combining all the different disciplines..
Reality is a Text
My texts are diverse: they range from literal and verbal texts to verbal and numerical ones, digital ones, and punctuation texts as well as object-texts, admitted Stanisław Dróżdż in his conversation with Jaromir Jedliński30 . Any message composed of widely conceived signs could be approached as a text by him. That is a modern approach to the text similar to the attitude proposed by Lyotard, drawing conclusions from the end of ‘the Guttenberg era’.
‘The Mastodon-Dróżdż’, who in his conservative attitude was writing a epitaph for the printed text, sticking to the black-and-white aesthetic of print and obeying unalterable rules of ‘concept-shapes’ poetics and considered himself to be ‘an old-fashion poet’ rather than ‘multi-media artist’, proved to be a surprisingly modern artist. The same referred to the concepts of his works which only nowadays, several dozen years after their conception, can be matched by the technical possibilities of their realisation. His automatically expanding works, in the times of computerisation, have become possible or, at least, significantly simpler to make (They include such works as Alea Iacta Est as well as ‘i’ [and] which initially was to be composed of only four boards). A similar trend occurs in terms of the graphic form of his works: precise computer print-outs presented at contemporary exhibitions can finally replace awkward, manual attempts to achieve the effect of typescript which initially formed these works. The main intention of Dróżdż was to obtain the text-object which would appear to live its own, objective life, independent of the author’s hand and mind. Like clouds, seas, mountains, animals and people, or – like rain.
Texts which turn into objects, in the form of graphic records or even real items, change the image of reality. Since the text can be an object, it could be assumed on the basis of inverse analogy that the objects which make up reality could be signs of the text. This conviction is automatically adopted by any recipient analysing the oeuvre of Stanisław Dróżdż. The entire reality is, in fact, the text which we must be appropriately read by us. That is the message of his works..
The most original and individual features of this oeuvre based on the implication that the text beyond the work of art continues to write itself, combined with an invisible framing of the text and system actions as a rule lead to the conviction that reality is the text being an emanation of a certain omnipresent system hidden behind it. Stanisław Dróżdż appears to say that with our existence, we participate in a game whose rules are inconceivable to us. What we can do is only to try, providing we can read the texts addressed to us by reality. Stanisław Dróżdż regarded his art as ‘snatching away’ from reality the senses which it includes. I do not feel as an author of my works. I am only a tool in God’s hands, which is comparable to a locksmith and pliers. Do pliers know what they serve for?, he asked in his conversation with me, a few months before his death.
June – August 2009
1 Tadeusz Sławek, Begin-end-ing by Stanisław Dróżdż, [in:] Stanisław Dróżdż,. Concrete Poetry [exhibition catalogue], published by Foksal Gallery SBWA, Warszawa; Kronika Gallery, Bytom, 1997.
2 Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka, Conversations with Stanisław Dróżdż, unpublished text, in preparation for publication in the 10th issue of the Art and Science Journal “Dyskurs”, Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, 2009 (the issue dedicated to the oeuvre of Stanisław Dróżdż) and in the book by M. Dawidek Gryglicka Conversations on a Language.
3 See: Conceptual Reflection in Polish Art. Experiences of Discourse: 1965-1975, edited by Paweł Polit, Piotr Woźniakiewicz, CSW Zamek Ujazdowski, Warszawa, 2000 and Anda Rottenberg, Art In Poland 1945-2005, Edited by Stentor, Warszawa, 2005; herein: chapter Conceptual Sentential Calculus.
4 The work by Kosuth One and Three Chairs – 1965; Zapominanie [Forgetting], the first ‘concept-shape’ by Stanisław Dróżdż – 1967.
5 See: Zbigniew Makarewicz, Aesthetics of Works in Polish Concrete Poetry, [in:] Concrete Poetry vs. Traditional Poetry. The 4th Theoretical-Critical Session, The Centre of Art Documentation and Propaganda, Wrocław, 1983.
6 Stanisław Dróżdż Interviewed by Jaromir Jedliński, [in:] Stanisław Dróżdż. Language Is a Game, [exhibition catalogue], Galeria Muzalewska, Poznań, 2007, p. 26.
7 Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka, Conversations with Stanisław Dróżdż, unpublished text, in preparation for publication in the 10th issue of the Art and Science Journal “Dyskurs”, Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, 2009 (the issue dedicated to the oeuvre of Stanisław Dróżdż) and in the book by M. Dawidek Gryglicka Conversations on a Language.
8 Stanisław Dróżdż, Concept-Shapes, ”Odra”, 1968, no. 12.
9 Visual artists such as Augusto de Campos, a painter and a photographer, one of the co-authors of the first manifesto of concrete poetry, also participated in the concretist movement, however, they rarely introduced their works into three-dimensional space. Such an activity is epitomised by the remarkable work by Marzenna Kosińska OD-DO [FROM-TO] (1975-1977) in the form of a working clock and the action [„WOkamienia”] by Michał Bieganowski (1976). Another example of providing concrete poetry with a three-dimensional aspect was the well-known garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay; Stanisław Dróżdż valued him very highly, he corresponded with him and possessed in his collections his works, which he presented at the exhibitions in Poland (see: biography of Stanisław Dróżdż at the end of the book)
10 Conversations on Art (VIII). Stanisław Dróżdż Interviewed by Jaromir Jedliński, “Odra”, 1999, no. 7-8, p. 84.
12 Stanisław Dróżdż, Concept-Shapes. The text was reprinted in the catalogue of his solo exhibition Stanisław Dróżdż, Structural Poetry. Concept-Shapes, in Galeria odNowa, Poznań, 1969. There is only one more theoretical text by Stanisław Dróżdż: On Concrete Poetry, published in the form of a copied undated bound typescript which accompanied the exhibition Polish Concrete Poetry. 2nd Polish Nationwide Exhibition of Concrete Poetry, KMPiK, Oleśnica, 1978.
13 Décio Pignatari, Augusto i Haroldo des Campos, Plano-piloto para poesia concreta, [in:] Teoria da Poesia Concreta. Textos Criticos e Manifestos 1950-1960, Edicoes Invenciao, Sao Paulo, 1965 (Polish translation published in the monthly “Poezja”, 1976, no. 6).
14 For instance, in the anthology edited by Mary Ellen Solt, Concrete Poetry. A Word View, Indiana University Press, Bloomington & London, 1971.
15 To Love Words. Stanisław Dróżdż Interviewed by Maryla Cyranowicz and Jarosław Lipszyc, “Meble” no. 5, February 2002.
16 Blackness and Whiteness, Foto-Medium-Art Gallery, Wrocław, September 1979; curator: Jerzy Olek and From Zero to Infinity, from Infinity to Zero, Foto-Medium-Art Gallery, Wrocław, October 1979; curators: Alek Figura and Jerzy Olek.
17 Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka, Conversations with Stanisław Dróżdż, unpublished text, in preparation for publication in the 10th issue of the Art and Science Journal “Dyskurs”, Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, 2009 (the issue dedicated to the oeuvre of Stanisław Dróżdż) and in the book by M. Dawidek Gryglicka Conversations on a Language.
18 Tadeusz Sławek, Everything from Everything. Wrocław Continuation of Poetry, [in:] Tadeusz Sławek, Between Letters. Drafts on Concrete Poetry, Wydawnictwo Dolnośląskie, Wrocław, 1989, p. 98.
19 Hans Arp, Concrete Poetry, [in:] Artists Talk about Art. From van Gogh to Picasso, selected and prepared by Elżbieta Grabska and Hanna Morawska, PWN, Warszawa, 1969, p. 462.
20 Stanisław Dróżdż, Concept-Shapes; Zbigniew Makarewicz, Dramatic Parsing of the Subject, Pod Moną Lisą Gallery, KMPiK, Wrocław, December 1968.
21 Jerzy Ludwiński, Art in Post-Artistic Times, [in:], The Epoch of Blueness, by the same author, Otwarta Pracownia, Kraków, 2003.
22 Stanisław Dróżdż, Structural Poetry. Concept-Shapes, March-April 1969..
23 Stanisław Dróżdż, Concept-Shapes, “Odra”, 1968, no. 12.
24 I Am a Traditionalist… Stanisław Dróżdż Interviewed by Paweł Majerski, “Opcje”, 1998, no. 3.
25 Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka, Conversations with Stanisław Dróżdż, unpublished text, in preparation for publication in the 10th issue of the Art and Science Journal “Dyskurs”, Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, 2009 (the issue dedicated to the oeuvre of Stanisław Dróżdż) and in the book by M. Dawidek Gryglicka Conversations on a Language.
26 Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka, ibidem; Stanisław Dróżdż Interviewed by Jaromir Jedliński, [in:] Stanisław Dróżdż, Language Is a Game, [exhibition catalogue], Galeria Muzalewska, Poznań, 2007, p. 27.
27 Words! (don’t stand on trifles), Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, England, 1995.
28 I Am a Traditionalist… Stanisław Dróżdż Interviewed by Paweł Majerski, “Opcje”, 1998, no. 3.
29 Małgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka, Conversations with Stanisław Dróżdż, unpublished text, in preparation for publication in the 10th issue of the Art and Science Journal “Dyskurs”, Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, 2009 (the issue dedicated to the oeuvre of Stanisław Dróżdż) and in the book by M. Dawidek Gryglicka Conversations on a Language.
30 Conversations on Art (VIII). Stanisław Dróżdż Interviewed by Jaromir Jedliński, “Odra”, 1999, no. 7-8, p. 87.