Zdzisław Beksiński… and I will throw in those gratuitous ellipses because they reflect an incomplete thought hung out there in space. It’s said that his paintings were mostly untitled because he didn’t want to encourage any interpretation beyond the images themselves. They images are arresting. There is no doubt about that. The only interpretation that might be appropriate would be weighing the events of his lifespan against the inherent darkness. There was a worldwide depression, leading into the Nazi invasion, leading from there into Soviet occupation and the Cold War and from there… Why would they not be dark? How could they not reflect that much?
Art is not my purview beyond being a fascinated observer. I’ve no knowledge of history or theory. I can only go to the Met, or MoMA, or the Tate or such and stand there with the images. Maybe it’s easier that way, after all, is art for the critics and theorists, or for everyone else? I can only speak of what I see and maybe like Beksinski’s hesitance to title his work it works better that way. There is an image and an observer and that makes everything very personal. To explain it would be to deny every single person who sees it their own feelings. It changes the language from feelings to words and that is cheap firstly, but oppressive as well. It’s certainly not how I want to experience art, at least not in the first go around. I’ll read the little placards next to a painting, or a wiki-entry, only after experiencing the emotion, and often not at all.
SURREALISM is a realm I’d often written off as art for art’s sake simply because I’d no vocabulary to reconcile it with my vanity. I was always reluctant to let go of my vocabulary, eager to have a ready explanation for everything my eyes saw. Of course there are things far beyond the rational brain and it was in a growing willingness to accept this that I accepted surrealism and quite frankly, all the modernists and post-modernists. That applies equally to any art medium and in my case most particularly music and painting. It’s ignorant to assume that there is a rational definition for everything and specifically where that applies to our dependence on the limitations of the roughly 30,000 words anyone has in their vocabulary arsenal.
So what is it I feel with Beksinksi? It’s not something that I have words for. See above. It’s a feeling. It’s the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. It’s a chill that he has seen something out there and perhaps it’s waiting for me or for all of us. Maybe it’s really what we’re looking at?
It’s just doubt and uncertainty. That’s the feeling, for me.