ICLA Congress edition:18 location:Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro date:29 July- 5 August 2007
The present paper focuses on the particular features of artistic reflexivity in the works of the Polish Modernist artist Bruno Schulz (1892-1942). On the one hand, Schulz’s artistic output seems to be characterized by a high degree of autoreferentiality, urging the reader to reflect upon the ontological status of the artifacts he is dealing with. On the other hand, the reflexive features of Schulz’s graphical and literary works seem to be imbedded – somewhat paradoxically – in a deliberate strategy of heteroreferentiality (or interartistic contamination): elements from one artistic medium are “borrowed” to shed light on the particular artistic features of another medium.
First of all, a considerable part of Schulz’s graphical works seems to draw on the notion of a visual narrative, i.e. the idea of presenting images in the narrative structure of a book. The most obvious example of this artistic concept of contamination is Schulz’s juvenile cycle of engravings The Idolatrous Booke (1920), the autoreferential character of which draws on the notion of blurring the artificial boundaries between verbal and visual media of artistic expression (the Booke and the Idol).
The reverse technique of reflexive interartistic contamination (the visual entering into the sphere of the word) can be found on a significant scale in Schulz’s literary works.