Wtadysław Strzemiński, et. al.’s “Communiqué of the Group ‘a.r.’” (1930)
Translated from the Polish by Wanda Kemp-Welch. From Between
Two Worlds: A Sourcebook of Central European Avant-Gardes,
1910-1930. (The MIT Press. Cambridge, MA: 2002).
• • •
The a.r. group takes up the struggle for modern art in Poland.
The work of Zwrotnica, Blok, and Praesens created the basis for a new art. The achievements of new art were eroded by the chaos of our artistic life and the imitators of modernism who, by adopting superficially some of the means of new art, decreased their revolutionary significance and dulled the senses of the general public to new beauty.
What is praised in Poland nowadays is already some fifty years late.
a.r. declares war on the obsolete, on the falsification of artistic values, on the decrepitude of the pseudo-modernists.
a.r. struggles for an art based on laws as constant as the laws of nature.
a.r. announces: organic construction. The logic of form and construction results from the logic of building material. Architecture is the composition of motion in space. Architecture of trajectories that uplift man, and not Corbusier’s steam ships which cast anchor by chance on a street at number such and such. Painting the unity of the rectangle, instead of playing with contrived shapes and textures. Spatial sculpture, united with space, and not a four-wall pier. Poetry: the unity of vision, condensed with maximum reference to images and the minimum of words, instead of the lullaby of melodious declamation.
a.r. combines plastic art with poetry. It presents the problems of new art in the broad spectrum, instead of the hitherto existing innovation in one field of art and simultaneous compromise and ignorance in another, with the result that the idea it gave of the present day was narrow and false.
a.r. constructs art on the principles of conciseness, elimination, concentration. The work of art is the result of the calculation of aesthetic elements.
a.r. propagates plastic art in which every square millimeter and every cubic millimeter is organized.
a.r. creates, it does not imitate, co-operating in the avant-garde movements of Europe, it broadens the field conquered by its ideas. In Poland only a.r. offers both creative work and modernity.
a.r. publishes the Library of Modern Art. So far it has published volume 1, by Julian Przyboś and Władystaw Strzemiński. In print: volume 2 of a.r. library: Katarzyna Kobro and Władystaw Strzemiński, Composition Of Space, The Calculations of Time-Space Rhythm; volume 3 of the a.r. library: Julian Przyboś, The Creative Elements of Poetry.
Modern art is not just another style. Modern art is the negation of all that has been before. Modern art is the revolution of all hitherto existing bases of sensation. Modern art changes the relationship of man to all products of his hands.
[Originally published as “Komunikat Grupy ‘a. r.’” in Europa, no. 9 (1930)]