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Zdzisław Beksiński

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Published on May 7, 2012

Zdzisław Beksiński (24 February 1929 -- 22 February 2005) was a renowned Polish painter and photographer. A Beksiński painting contained elements of surrealism, the post-apocalyptic and immense attention to detail. Despite the grim overtones, he claimed some of these paintings were misunderstood, as they were rather optimistic, or even humouristic. His exhibitions almost always proved very successful. A prestigious exhibition in Warsaw in 1964 proved to be his first major success, as all his paintings were sold. In the 1980s his works gained on popularity in France and he gained significant popularity in Western Europe, the USA and Japan. He soon became the leading figure in contemporary Polish art.

"Artistic Road of Zdzislaw Beksinski"
By Wieslaw Banach


"...A few sentences are all that is required to present the biography of Zdzislaw Beksinski. He was born on 24th February 1929 in Sanok (now South-Eastern Poland), with which his family had been connected ever since the times of his grandfather Mateusz Beksinski. In 1947, on finishing grammar school in Sanok, Beksinski enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture of the Cracow University of Technology. After graduation in 1952, in compliance with the regulations for the employment of graduates then in force, he lived first in Cracow and later in Rzeszów, and finally, in 1955, returned with his wife to Sanok.

He initiated his work as a photographer, and in 1958 presented some excellent work at several exhibitions in Warsaw, Gliwice, and Poznan. However it was his work in drawing and painting, and partly also in sculpture, that brought him his first successes. In 1964 Janusz Bogucki put on an exhibition of his work in the Stara Pomaranczarnia in Warsaw, which turned out to be his first major success, since all the exhibits were sold. The exhibition Bogucki organised in 1972 presented a new trend in Beksinski's work, which years later he would call his 'fantasy period', which continued in his biography until the 1980's. In the summer of 1977, following a decision by the authorities of Sanok to demolish Beksinski's family house, the artist and his wife and son moved to Warsaw...

Beksinski's numerous exhibitions in Poland and abroad, and also the substantial number of publications by him, including catalogues and albums, and the innumerable interviews with him and films about him have put him into the narrow group of the most talked about and best known Polish artists. He once made the following ironic remark about his own life, 'Writing your own biography is a sign of even greater vainglory than making declarations like the ones I have written at the request of the makers of this catalogue. But whereas occasionally it might seem to me that I know what it is I'm thinking about, and that I'm. thinking what I'm. thinking, which makes me feel right to tell someone else about what I think I've been thinking about; I'm. certain that I don't know anything about my own past except everything, but everything is about as much as nothing. Presumably the most important fact from my life is that when I was ten I got an air-gun for my name-day, and that later I shot at chickens with it, but is this fact of interest to anyone besides myself? Apart from that, presumably I was born, and I shall be doing my best not to die, but I'm. sure I won't manage it.' Beksinski does not participate in what's known as the life of the arts, preferring the seclusion of his studio; he doesn't even attend the vernissages of his own exhibitions. That's why in his case it's not the official biography, which has no sensational events in it, is the most interesting thing, but his artistic life, which is associated with all the changes that have taken place and are taking place in his work all the time."
[from Wikipedia]

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