She was Bruno Schulz's friend and confidant, Witkacy's model and alumni of the Lvov-Warsaw school's foremen – Kazimierz Twardowski and Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz. Despite being a tremendous writer and profound aesthetic analyser, she is strangely most often recognized for the company of the splendid men she worked or been in friendship with.
A writer, philosopher as well as literature and art critic.
She was born in January 1900 in the Galician village Bursztyn and died in 1942 during the liquidation of the Lvov Ghetto. When asked about her date of birth she always said that it is 1902. She was a poet and prosaic also engaged in literary and art criticism, writing dominantly about avant-garde works of art. In 1926, she obtained her PhD in philosophy at the Lviv University with her dissertation titled 'The Influence of Hegel's Aesthetic upon Jozef Kremer'. She was Bruno Schulz's fiancée but as a result of her family's objections, she finally married the engineer Szulim Barenbluth. She wrote in Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew, often translating her own texts, collaborating with both Jewish ('Inzich', 'Cuszajter', 'Chwila', 'Nasza opinia') and Polish ('Sygnały', 'Wiadomości Literackie') journals.
Vogel's works are based directly on her aesthetical conceptions. Her poems are often treated as pictorial counterparts of cubism and geometric abstraction. The names of figures and geometric forms are used in a peculiar way to create melancholic ambiance whereas the repetitiveness of forms suggests boredom and apathy.
Light and colour are used in a similar way. Thanks to such techniques, the world depicted in her poems seems to be simplified, visible exclusively from the distance. Another cubic technique used in Vogel's poems is the literary equivalent of collage: citing fragments of advertisements and announcements.
The author called her own prose as 'montage', deriving it from the avant-garde discourse. According to Olga Cielemęcka:
Montage […] abolishes the hierarchy of things, showing their greatness and simultaneousness.
Karolina Szymaniak wrote in the afterword of the compilation 'Akacje kwitną' (Austeria, Kraków 2006):
Montage abolishes the hierarchy of things (which was the fundament of Vogel's constructivism) together with what is actual, daily and passing (the social element). The actual theme of montage is life with the accurate dialectic, leaving the protagonist's life anonymous and exemplary.
The fact that the Akacje kwitną cycle is populated with dummies while the first part talk about the uncloaking, fits the assumptions well.
Her montages are also filled with the tendency often visible in Vogel's works to schematize the depicted world. Some of the montages count 'souls' of different objects and materials, some others ascribe inert matter quality to humans, who are not main characters of Vogel's works. B. Alkwit (in fact Eliezer Blum), a critic working in the pre-war Jewish journal released in New York 'Inzich', noticed reasonably: 'in the whole book, one will not find any human's name, nor anybody who needs a name'.
It is worth to mention the cycle Budowa stacji kolejowej (1931) which uses all favourite stylistic figures of the constructivists to transform the work motive, glorified by the constructivists without any objections, into a 'chapter in the history of human's longing for numbers and monotony'.
A great part of Vogel's literary works was written in Yiddish. The decision seems to be ambiguous as this language was not used in her parents' house while she was less fluent in Yiddish than Polish and German. Furthermore, it is hard to point at connections between Vogel's avant-garde writings and Yiddish literature. Her artistic path, being independent from the connections with European artistic movements, is primarily an outcome of individual theoretical reflections.
- Tog figurn (Figury dnia), 1930.
- Manekinen (Manekiny), 1934.
- Akacjes blien, 1935; the authorial translation Akacje kwitną was published in 1936 by Rój Publishng House; the editio called Austeria from 2006 collects author various texts published in newspapers throughout the time.
Author: Paweł Kozioł, November 2016, translated by AW, December 2016