The Nightmare Artist - Beck Schinsky
this is a photograph by Ziggy suave
schinskyover the course of a 50-year career in art he would materialize dreams and
nightmares onto canvas and celluloid bring a global eye to Polish art and would help to define modern heavy-metal aesthetic born in 1929 his birthplace Sanok had one of the largest populations of Jewish people in all of Poland in the lead-up to World War two roughly 30 percent of the city and in 1940 the zoo Slav concentration camp was created just on the outskirts and would remain functional for the next three years and the aftermath of the war
schinskywould begin to photograph the world that he saw around him during the Soviet occupation of his country and it is undeniable that the horrors he experienced through his entire adolescence would later play a massive role in the mindset of his works that he would go on to create although not formally trained in art in 1955 he would study architecture and develop drafting skills through that that would later help him in more than one way because as well as training his hand he would also learn the history and symbolism of architecture that would allow him to make social commentary through his paintings after finishing his education he would return home to Sonic and would design buses for a construction company called Auto song but during this time he would continue to experiment more with his photography incorporating objects that he found at the construction site into the pictures that he took and...
decided as a side project to his career that he would become a part-time photographer and it was here in 1957 that
schinskyimmediately disrupted the art world with his earliest works of photography the philosophical idea behind photography at the time was that of straight photography or pure photography and the likes of
artists such as Paul strand Edward Weston and Ansel Adams in which the objective of the photographer was to use the camera to create as sharpen image as possible of the subject using light to demonstrate every natural texture available this style was born out of rejection of pictorialism which was the reigning style of art photography in the early night hundreds wherein the photographer would try to capture life in a hazy obscure way similar to that of the impressionist painters peer photography stood against this staged false idea of life that the pictorialist created within their work and tried to present objects as they truly were rather than how a romantic would see them and so when
schinskyunveiled his photograph sadists corset in 1957 there was an immediate backlash to its stylized posed nature that rejected the traditional nude facing the figure away from the camera cropping out the head and legs and a very non-sexual rigid standing position photography critic Alfred Legault key publicly criticized the photograph saying that surrealist photography should not be acknowledged because of its direct interference with the photographed subject on...
the part of the photographer that it didn't properly represent the subject as it really was claiming that machine skis work was anti photography
schinskythen responded to this publicly in photography magazine with an article titled the crisis of photography and the perspective to overcome it saying that the pervasive style of pure photography didn't allow for
artistic expression and that the medium should grant that to an
artistto make an
artistic statement if the
artistwants to do that and this philosophy is something that you can see in all of his early photographic works the subjects are all manipulated directed and posed in very specific ways and were always obscured in some fashion and out-of-focus chair in the foreground segments the subject of satus corsa into pieces here mirrors disrupt the natural symmetry of the body subjects are cropped photographed as silhouettes purposefully shown out of focus and shadows make faces ambiguous and confusing to look at by the time of the early 1960s even though he was a renowned photographer he quit working within the medium entirely and donated all of his photographs to the historical museum in sana stating that he had nothing else to say through that art form and that it limited his imagination and even though
schinskytoday is entirely for his paintings you can see here in his photographic works of the 1950's the formation of what would go on to be his trademark existential style from the beginning of...
the 1960s to the mid-1980s
schinskywould enter the era of his career that he would become most known for with the fantastic series which melded architecture spiritualism eroticism war and dream logic into a series of hellscape paintings every work of art created by
schinskywas untitled he didn't like the concept of titling art because of the possibility of creating a misconstrued meaning or perceived interpretation of the work from the
artistto the audience he explained in a 2002 interview that in his opinion interpretation is imposed by others speaking immodestly paintings are to be admired or contemplated admired without asking what it means if I had something to say I would write it down or say it I don't need painting for that in fact he didn't really like the concept of interpreting the work at all and one of the paintings to just stand on their own as paintings and would even get upset with critics who tried to come up with a simple answer for what his work meant saying also at one point that meaning is meaningless to me I do not care for symbolism and I paint what I paint without meditating on a story so I'm not going to try and do that here and offer up some grand thesis of what his body of work means as a whole I think he is probably correct in saying that his work is so diverse and they each individual painting is too complex for me or anyone else to do that well but despite his wishes I will go so far as to say that there are common...
similarities and many works from him that make it difficult for me to not think of his life and the political climate that he grew up in when viewing his paintings from this time almost every single one of this set feels like him confronting something very personal that he must have seen or experienced in his youth as he also explores concepts that obviously captivated and haunted him and so here I would like to take some time to discuss what I see as the most common themes within his work his experiences growing up in World War two obviously affected him deeply and is the most reoccurring topic that I see in his paintings here an ugly red creature conceals itself behind the facade of elegant greco-roman architecture war helmets are a constant reoccurring image such as here were individuals ride one dragging a body behind them burning buildings destruction and chaos reigns in his worlds and I think the color blue is significant in these scenes if you aren't aware the color Prussian blue is named after the prussic acid that is used to produce that color and paint prussic acid is also known as hydrogen cyanide and while the paint itself today is not toxic despite being created with a form of cyanide other products made from it such as the pesticide zyklon-b that would be used by the Germans and gas chambers during World War two are extremely deadly and are known under certain circumstances depending on iron and pH levels as well as humidity to leave a blue residue on...
surfaces that are in frequent contact with the substance that is chemically identical to that paint there are two paintings in particular that I believe that
schinskyis referencing this in here where a figure reminiscent of common depictions of death shrouded in Prussian blue watches as a train of carts covered in religious symbols carries emaciated figures away who are packed together tightly as well as here where possibly the same figure hovers over a child in a cradle while a man is eaten alive by birds behind him the words in hoc Signo Vinces is carved into the wall a Latin phrase meaning in this sign thou shalt conquer it is also relevant I think to note that this phrase was a common popular slogan used by the American Nazi Party the human body is the subject of almost every
schinskywork and like most themes within his work they tend to blend together into one common core of nihilism his portrayal of thin bodies is very much in my mind tied to the war and they're also often presented with religious symbols which themselves are also always shown with destruction tying back into war in a constant recycling collision of conflicting ideas he painted hundreds of images in his life and to me they are each individually small pieces of a large single Hobbesian statement on human nature the bodies of bet shean skis paintings are never normal and are almost always blending into something else stretching and obscuring the original form many bodies form a new creature...
faces bloom into nature buildings are constructed out of bodies no tree Dom is made of flesh numbers are tattooed are carved into people a man turns into a building and a torso into a chair with these last few possibly being a critique of the victims of the Germans being turned into household objects such as soap or lampshades each person depicted is a parody of life with the only common element being that they are always thinner than they should be a corpse plays the violin a ruined dancer poses the faces shift this way and that way until the argument could be made that they are no longer faces at all they are usually cropped or segmented into pieces positioned in almost natural ways and yet somehow entirely unnatural at the same time and the positioning of the bodies also ties into the idea of crowds surrounding larger-than-life government officials and religious figures as well as the idea of crowd mentality is critiqued heavily in his work were those in large groups stare vacantly forward or gnash their teeth and joyous anger here a large group probably representing death wearing helmets block the way forward on a path and here a great head devours the masses and on the religious side a massive being hovers over the earth with the symbol of religion in its front pocket a cardinal appears with a diseased rotting face graves litter the yard of Notre Dom and many many crosses rise up out of the destruction of war but there are just as many paintings that don't have as...
overt of a possible meaning behind them which is why I say that it's difficult to lump all of his output into one definite thesis just in the same way that it would be difficult to place the entirety of a man's life into one neat sentence life is messy and just because he witnessed the horrors of human rights violations as a youth doesn't mean that makes up everything about him as a person and there are many paintings like these that hum with mystery to me and that is one of the things that I appreciate most about him is that you can think you almost have him pinned down as an
artistand then you'll discover for instance that he created a set of sadistic erotic drawings that surprises you because they are totally unlike anything else that he ever worked on the 1990s are personally my least favorite era of
Becksince keys art but I don't blame him for this as with many creative people at the time he became enamored with the new possibilities that digital art offered and for a while he returned to photography using new programs such as Photoshop to manipulate his photographs as well as those taken by others to create new images out of them he said in this time that there's a certain refreshment of mind in this work the view from a totally different perspective than at painting playing with these programs I can create artificial reality at any angle and figuratively photograph it which would be the final result of creation but the artificial reality of...
these works that he created in this time to me are not on the same level as what would have come before in my opinion they definitely come from the same mind in the same perspective but these feel less raw to me less visceral or emotional I enjoy him revisiting imagery from earlier in his career that he developed during the fantastic period such as doing this digital work of Notre Dom but I do feel like a lot of fine
artists as well as comic
artists were held back in this era by trying to embrace new technologies before they were perfected and I think that
schinskyrealized this as well eventually as he became frustrated with digital art and abandoned it by the 2000s and would return to painting but unfortunately this would not last for long as on the 21st of February 2005 he entered an argument with a man named Robert the son of his housekeeper who wanted to borrow the equivalent of about 100 dollars
schinskyrefused the argument became heated and the two entered into an altercation and Robert stabbed
schinsky17 times killing him robbing him not only of his life but the world also of Moore
schinskypaintings that year Burning Man would display a red cross in the shape of a tea in his honor and soon after the city of cynic would open a museum dedicated to his work in a local castle that is still open to the stay
schinskyis undeniably the symbol of the birth of modern Polish art but I also believe that he stands as a symbol of a reaction to a very...
specific chaotic time in world history from a perspective that lived through it and saw it unfold as it all horribly happened through war through travesty through occupation and totalitarianism he took these things in and held on to them before I think they exploded into a pure emotional visceral reaction at the horrors of life and the