Zdzisław Beksiński's Dystopian Surrealist Landscapes
The desertic and post-apocalyptic landscapes of Zdzisław Beksiński take us into a macabre environment where the only way out is the acceptance of one’s own mortality.
The nightmares of Zdzisław Beksiński
Zdzisław Beksiński (1929-2005) was a Polish artist who, among other things, explored the possibilities of dystopian surrealism. He studied architecture in Krakow before returning in 1955 to work as a construction site supervisor in his hometown of Sanok in southern Poland. Little fulfilled by this work he began at the same time to develop an interest in sculpture, painting and photography. The success came quickly after an exhibition in Warsaw in 1964 . From this date he gradually abandoned sculpture, some abstract structures in metal and plaster, to concentrate almost exclusively on oil paintings, more figurative. From then on he became the leading figure on the Polish contemporary scene. He painted the majority of his production between the 70’s and 90’s, his fantasy period, during which he depicted environments with morbid, desolate atmospheres.”I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams” he said. From the 90’s he came back to a more abstract production, starting to adopt the new computer technologies to renew with photomontages.
An inevitable doom
Zdzisław Beksiński’s work is characterized by desert landscapes, influenced by baroque and gothic architecture. His macabre landscapes are invaded by skeletons in the middle of post-apocalyptic deserts often threatened by an orange sky. We are just after an apocalyptic disaster where only monumental architecture remains standing in the middle of an overloaded aerosol environment. The condemnation and decomposition of humanity seems inescapable in his work. Death enters in resonance with the spectator to suffocate him. The inevitable feeling that remains is the absence of hope and the renunciation of any bright future, the announcement of a general peril where the struggle is in vain.