Franciszka Themerson 1907-88
What Shall I Say?
2-19 April 2001
LONDON Front Room


Franciszka Themerson was of a generation whose formative world disappeared from under their feet. Through the 1940s and 50s, her art had to grow up over again, as a child of its time. She re-learned to speak, in a language that the altered world would recognise: with all its radicalness, and overburdened memory. The urgent will to form things that she appears to have been born with, was matched by her acceptance of the random will of chance to change things. Some of the disquieting charge in her drawings comes form a power-struggle between them. The artlessness in her art was no affectation. It was a way of standing up to a dysfunctional world, eyeball-to-eyeball. Her art slugged it out. The wonder is that the native poetry of her touch and its wit could survive all of this, and still seduce us.

Nick Wadley, January 2001