-This blog is dedicated to Dark Art, in all its myriad forms-

I make every effort to properly identify and credit each artist contained herein. Feel free to contact me about inaccurate information; or, suggestions about other artists to feature, including yourself.

NOTE: Click on individual pictures to access the larger formats.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Zdzisław Beksiński

I could honestly write and talk about this artist for days. He is within the top three of my all time favorite painters. Zdzisław's work affects me deeply and his talent is one of the reasons, early in life, for my interest in Dark Art. I saw a sample of his work while quite young, and, gratefully, never was I to approach art the same way. In my own work, it is Beksiński that I emulate.

Zdzisław Beksiński was born in Sanok, Poland on February 24, 1929. He worked as a construction site supervisor before studying architecture in Kraków. He returned to Sanok in 1955. Around this time he became interested in photomontage, sculpture and painting. Even at this early stage his work featured powerful and disturbing imagery that would remain a consistent theme throughout his life. His first major success occurred in 1964 during an exhibition in Warsaw. He worked constantly and obsessively, eventually painting for twelve hour stretches, and longer, while listening to classical music.

In 1977, Zdzisław burned a selection of his works in his backyard that he felt were too personal, refusing to let anyone see them. Some artists, myself included, are known to do this. In my own case, I burn all of them; what comes out on canvas is too raw for others to understand. In Beksiński's case however, it has intrigued many people as to what those paintings consisted of. The many works that he did release to the public are, in my opinion, some of the most personal and visceral ever produced by anyone, ever. But of course it only adds to the mystery of a secluded and very private man. He had little to no interest in his exhibitions and never attended any of them.

Beksiński has often been described as humorous, highly intelligent and an exceptionally intellectual man by those who knew him. He produced his drawings and paintings in two styles: "Baroque" or "Gothic". In the 1990's Zdzisław's life became increasingly difficult and painful. After a long illness with cancer, his beloved wife died in 1998. One year after this, on Christmas Eve, his son Tomasz committed suicide. Beksiński is the one that found his son's body; an event he never fully recovered from. In February 2005, three days before his 76th birthday, Zdzisław was murdered in his flat by the teenage son of his caretaker, and another youth. He was stabbed 17 times for refusing to give the kid a small loan.

Many Galleries, Museums and websites around the world are dedicated to the genius and power of Beksiński's visions. The most interesting website, visually, is from the Belvedere Gallery. I must say this is one of the coolest and well-crafted websites I've ever seen. The graphics, interactivity and music is an experience in itself. Do yourself a favor, go there and spend some quality time.

Another website of note and great significance is the Dmochowski Gallery. Since 1983 Piotr Dmochowski has worked tirelessly on disseminating Beksiński's art throughout the world. Thus far he has produced two monographic albums, several exhibitions, and a book entitled
Struggling for Beksiński; as well as managing, for six years, the Galerie Dmochowski, musée-galerie de Beksiński at the Quincampoix street in Paris.

His website has an astounding amount of material on Zdzisław Beksiński, with more to come. Piotr spent a great deal of time with Zdzisław and recorded over 132 hours of conversations with him from 1984 to 1990, some of which can be found on the site. There's also regular updates, interesting details of Beksiński's personal life and philosophy, a three-volume book of correspondence between them, recordings of the music Zdzisław always listened to while painting, and a blog.

The high-quality -resolution gallery containing examples of Beksiński's various styles is truly immense and being added to regularly. Dmochowski's site also features a short film he produced called
Hommage à Beksiński, which was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986. Piotr Dmochowski is truly dedicated to this amazing artist and willingly gives a great deal of his time and effort in freely sharing the beauty of Zdzisław Beksiński's work. Thank you, Piotr.

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