A Dystopian Artist

Zdzisław Beksiński, a polish painter, survived World War II and created provocative pieces during Communist times in Poland. Most of his work during that time was depreciated, especially by the Soviet Government.


Dystopia is defined as an imaginary, undesirable and horrific place. It is the exact opposite of utopia, which is the ideal place or society, where there is no crime or poverty. Surrealism was a 20th-century movement which promoted the full liberation of the subconscious.


The two of them combined create the dystopian surrealism of Beksinski. It is this nightmarish ambient with scenes of grotesque, horror, death, and anxiety. Many were attracted by this new style.


Beksiński was fascinated and known for the darkness, and decay in his paintings. Not only was he known for that but he was also known for his eroticism, abstractionism, and Eastern mysticism. He created a gothic, haunting, and harsh atmosphere with his work, making it hard to look away


From the mid-1960s he became a well known name in Poland, once his paintings were exhibited in Japan and France, he became a worldwide recognized artist. He did not care to be a favorite of the critics and paid no attention to “trends.” All he wanted to do was pursue his own dreams and desires.


Discussing the meaning of his dystopian surrealist works, Beksiński insisted there was none. A reason as to why he didn’t name a vast range of his art work. He wanted to avoid any metaphorical interpretation of his paintings. He left it to the observer to comprehend it as whatever they liked.


“I focus on atmosphere, music, mood. I perceive it very musically, every image. Perhaps others see it differently, or maybe their perception of music is different than mine... I definitely deny the term 'symbolic art', I don't define something for someone. When I create, simple associations appear. Associations of several objects collide with each other, creating an apparent content. But the content is not intended by me.”



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