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Debora Vogel and Her Artistic Milieu
Photo by Oberhard L., Akademicka St. in Lwow, 1925–1939, from the Polish National Digital Archives

Debora Vogel and Her Artistic Milieu

Dr. Karolina Szymaniak

Debora Vogel and Her Artistic Milieu
Free of charge

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Debora Vogel and Her Artistic Milieu in Interwar Lwów

In this talk, we will look at the Polish-Jewish avant-garde milieu in interwar Lwów (Lviv) through the artistic oeuvre of the Yiddish-Polish writer, theoretician, and art critic, Debora Vogel (1900-1942) and the ARTES group she became associated with. In the interwar period, the seemingly peripheral city of Lviv became a hub for everything modern and radical in philosophy, literature, and visual arts. Vogel and the members of ARTES co-shaped the intellectual and visual landscape of the city.

In recent years, Vogel is being rediscovered as one of the most interesting radical proponents of the Polish-Jewish avant-garde. In her work, written mainly in Yiddish and Polish (but also in Hebrew), she responded to and participated in the experiments in modernist visual arts (Cubism, Constructivism, New Realism) by pushing the very limits of the language and treating it as plastic matter. These experiments were rooted in the landscape of a modern (capitalist) city, and the lived experience of the concrete urban space. At their heart was the figure of the mannequin and the genre of photo/literary montage practiced both by Vogel and the members of ARTES such as Henryk Streng (the illustrator of Vogel’s work), Aleksander Krzywobłocki, or Jerzy Janisch.

In the talk, we will watch and discuss how the concrete urban spaces – Lviv and Paris – were translated into a complex vision and philosophy of modern life that still calls into question our habits of thinking and seeing.

Karolina Szymaniak, Ph.D. (Taube Department for Jewish Studies, University of Wrocław/ Jewish Historical Institute)

Karolina Szymaniak is Assistant Professor at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, and in the Taube Department of Jewish Studies at the Wroclaw University. She is a researcher, editor, translator, and language instructor with a Ph.D. in literary and cultural studies. Her book on the Polish-Yiddish modernist writer Debora Vogel was published in 2006 in Poland. She co-edited: Warsaw Yiddish Avant-garde (2005), Dialogue of Poets (2011), Montages. Debora Vogel and the New Legend of the City (2017), and My Wild Goat. Anthology of Women Yiddish Poets (2019). She is the editor of Rachel Auerbach's ghetto writings, which received the 2016 Polityka History Award. Karolina's profile is featured in Nurith Aviv's 2020 documentary Yiddish.

Monday, October 18, 8 pm Israel / 6 pm UK / 1 pm EST


Monday October 18th 12 Cheshvan 08:00 - 09:30


Dr. Karolina Szymaniak


Online Zoom Event Map

For Whom?

Historians, Readers, General Public




Free of Charge

Photo by Oberhard L., Akademicka St. in Lwow, 1925–1939, from the Polish National Digital Archives