Zdzisław Beksiński, born on the 24th February 1929 in Sanok, is a great Polish painter, sculptor and photographer. He is someone I have always heard of, since my hometown, a city in the South of Poland, Częstochowa, proudly owns a museum, where 50 of his drawings and paintings are exhibited. It is, without a doubt, the most valuable and worthy of visiting museum in Częstochowa, a city where not much else can be found, if you are not a devoted Catholic. Anyhow, during my last stay there I visited the museum and discovered a true gem that my hometown has been hiding all along.
Upon entering the museum, many people might be taken aback by the darkness and strangeness of Beksiński’s paintings. They are surreal, gothic and terrifying. But somehow, despite their surrealism, they are the most real paintings I have ever seen. No one can remain indifferent to Beksiński. His work is full of pain and suffering and the artist’s inability to express love in his private life is reflected in his paintings. Beksiński experienced many tragedies during his life; he lived through WWII, watched his wife die of cancer and finally, on Christmas Eve 1999, discovered his son’s body after he had committed suicide.
Under these circumstances, it is no wonder why Beksiński’s art is the way it is. What’s interesting though, is that he claimed to not plan or even understand his work. He said that his biggest satisfaction was to sit in front of a newly completed painting and be astounded by what he had created. He didn’t give titles to his work either, as he wanted the viewer to interpret it in their own way, without a previously imposed idea. I, personally, really enjoyed walking around the gallery, trying to understand what the paintings represented and listening to what others thought of them.
Beksiński’s own death was also tragic, which seems like a strange coincidence given the nature of his work, when he was murdered in his flat in Warsaw on 21st February 2005. During his life he created many works, which are now scattered across different museums, the main one being in his hometown, Sanok. According to some recent plans, all of his works might be moved to a new museum in Warsaw. Although I will be very sad to see my hometown lose such a valuable museum, perhaps a larger collection in Warsaw will attract more visitors and all of his works will be exhibited together, giving the viewer a chance to admire the whole of his creativity.
To see more of Beksiński’s works: http://imgur.com/a/vdLZg#22
All biographical information was taken from the recently published biography of Beksiński and his son, a popular radio presenter and music journalist: ‘Beksińscy’ by Magdalena Grzebałkowska.
Written by Alicja Zajdel
Photos courtesy of Google Images