Ideas from the Void Ideas from the Void
Illustration by Joanna Grochocka; source: "Not So Made-Up Stories" (“Historie nie do końca zmyślone”) by Tomasz Wiśniewski

Ideas from the Void

An Interview with Joanna Grochocka
time 7 minutes

On 7th February, regular “Przekrój” illustrator Joanna Grochocka will receive a prize from the Society of Illustrators for her art in the book “Not So Made-Up Stories” (“Historie nie do końca zmyślone”), written by Tomasz Wiśniewski. She will be awarded a silver medal in the Book category of the Illustrators 62 Annual Competition.

Przekrój: We can observe a gigantic trend towards the return of illustrations in books. Why do you think that is?

Joanna Grochocka: As you know, Polish illustrations and graphics already had their glory days. Back in the 1960s and 70s they were well-known and hailed across the world as fresh, lively and imaginative. Unfortunately, during the period of political transition, we were dealing with an invasion of the worst sort of aesthetic quality, riding the wave of fascination with capitalism and all that came ‘from the West’. In stark contrast to the so-called greyness of the old world (and that is how the old order was perceived), what was desirable was anything different or colourful and which couldn’t be associated with komuna (a pejorative term for communism). Looking back from today’s perspective, there was an influx of almost psychedelically ugly, Disney-esque


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The Transformation The Transformation
Illustration by Joanna Grochocka; source: "Not So Made-Up Stories" ("Historie nie do końca zmyślone") by Tomasz Wiśniewski
Dreams and Visions

The Transformation

Tomasz Wiśniewski

Many alchemists have tried their hand at the difficult art of transmutation, but a real breakthrough in this domain was made by Michał Sędziwój (known more commonly in English as Michael Sendivogius), an adept of the arcanum and secretary to King Sigismund III Vasa of Poland.

Michał Sędziwój (1566–??) received a good education that fell onto fertile ground – as a boy he had no need for a tutor who, with cane in hand, would have to encourage him to read. He devoured thick volumes, one after the other, spanning domains as distant from each other as astronomy and botany. But his greatest passion was alchemy. He personally met the great initiated minds of his age. We cannot, however, state that he did not have his feet on the ground – he proved to be an effective diplomat on several occasions, well-known even in the most prominent courts of 16th-century Europe.

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