Franciszka and Stefan Themerson

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1907/1910 – 1988themersons

Poland

Stefan Themerson was a poet, novelist, film-maker, composer and philosopher. He was born in Russia but moved to Warsaw in 1928 to study physics at the University of Warsaw, and architecture at the Warsaw Polytechnic.

Franciszka Themerson was a painter, illustrator, film-maker and stage designer. Between 1918-1922 she studied at the Warsaw Music Academy, then painting at the Academy of Fine Art in Warsaw from where she graduated in 1931 with great distinction.

Stefan and Franciszka Themerson met in Warsaw in the late 1920s. Around 1930 they started to collaborate in experiments in photography and film, and became pioneer members of the Polish cinematic avant-garde. Their early works, many of which are now lost, combined an innovative use of photograms, photography and photo-collage techniques. In addition to their five experimental films (only one of which survives), Stefan and Franciszka were party to much of the debate around film and art during their time in Warsaw. They co-founded the Film Authors’ Co-operative (SAF) to provide workshops, screenings and discussions for like-minded artists and filmmakers. Working within SAF, the Themersons designed and published f.a. magazine, a journal of avant-garde film. Two issues were published, the second of which contained the first text of Stefan Themerson’s treatise ‘The Urge to Create Visions’. The Themersons moved to Paris in 1937 and to London in 1942. They founded the Gaberbocchus Press Stefan published his own philosophical discourses on art, film, semantics and ethics; as well as novels, an opera and poems. Franciszka was art editor of the press, illustrated all of Stefan’s titles and many others, and published two or three books of her prolific drawings.

Website

Filmography

 References

  • Dusinberre, Deke (1979) “The Other Avant-gardes” in. Dusinberre, Dekeand Rees, Al eds. (1979) Film as Film: Formal Experiment in Film 1910–1975 (exhibition catalogue) London: Hayward Gallery, pp. 53-58.
  • Giżycki, Marcin, Kubasiewicz, Jan and Strauss, Monica J. (1993) The Themersons and the Gaberbocchus Press: An Experiment in Publishing, 1948-1979. New York: MJS Books & Graphics.
  • Kuc, Kamila (2014) “The Inexpressible Uneartly Beauty of the Cinematograph: The Impact of Polish Futurism on the First Polish Avant-garde Films” in. Kuc, Kamilia and O’Pray, Michael (2014) The Struggle for Form. Perspectives on Polish Avant-Garde Film 1916-1989. London: Wallflower Press.
  • Rees, A. L. (2014)” The Themersons and the Polish Avant-garde” in. Kuc, Kamilia and O’Pray, Michael (2014) The Struggle for Form. Perspectives on Polish Avant-Garde Film 1916-1989. London: Wallflower Press, pp. 7-30.
  • Themerson, Stephan and Franciszka (1982) Visual Researches. Łódź : Muzeum Sztuki, pp. 31-51.
  • Themerson, Stephan (1983) The Urge to Create Visions. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij De Harmonie.

 

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