Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I don't know how I managed to stay ignorant of the amazing art of Zdzislaw Beksinski for so many years, but luckily I stumbled accross his name while stalking Hell Crust just last week. Born in Sanok, Poland, in 1929, Beksinki is one of the darkest Surrealist artists this side of Giger, and created some of the most haunting and disturbing images this side of Bosch. He began his artistic career in the early 60's, dabbling in photography and photomontage, but soon progressed to painting and sculpture. His earlier paintings were very abstract, but by the 70's he had found his own distinct 'dark fantasy' style, which he stuck with until the late 90's (at which point he began to dabble with digital imaging). He always listened to loud classical music while painting his bleak, post-apocalyptic pieces, which leads me to believe that he was a closet metalhead. The paintings presented later in this post serve to confirm my suspicions.
Despite his horrific depictions of transmorgrified skeletons, decay, death, and war, Beksinski was a cheerful and friendly guy, who scorned critics looking for "meaning" in his work. He was just a painter doing his thing, which just happened to be capturing and putting to canvas some of the strangest and most dreamlike images of morbid evil ever known to man. Zdzislaw was a Bro.
In 1998, after three decades of prominence and critical acclaim, Zdzislaw suffered the tragic loss of his wife Zofia, and a year later discovered the body of his son Tomasz, who committed suicide on Christmas Eve. Beksinski never fully recovered from his losses, and in 2005 he was stabbed 17 times and killed by two teenage kids. One of the murderers, Robert Kupiec, had been a friend of the family, and later it was revealed that Beksinski had refused him a loan of about $100 right before the assault.
Below: Zdzislaw as a child, Poland, 1941.
Check out some of Zdzislaw Beksinski's finest work below (double-click images for larger size - highly recommended). You can also learn more about Beksinski via the excellent Monster Brains blog.
Video tribute to Beksinski, featuring dozens more of his trippy paintings: