Zdzislaw Beksinski was a Polish artist who primarily focused on painting, sculpture and photography. A pragmatic and uncomplicated man, he is often thought of as a painter of cruel and fictional works, however he himself did not necessarily agree with this comparison, instead thinking of his artworks as simply an expression of perception, an adaptation of style. Beksinski’s earlier works were more a mockery of 19th century artistic styles and he even comments on this “persiflage of 19th century styles” in a 1987 Polish TV interview.
Music was also a big influence for Beksinski, who had only two main requirements before setting about starting any artwork, that being a cup of Nescafe and Music, often listening to classical or pop and very specifically, only classical music from the second half of the 19th century. This music became an unconscious sound track to his artwork, often times listening to an album on repeat for hours until somehow it had become ingrained into his subconscious enough that he would start whistling to the tune without even thinking about it, rather concentrating on whichever “painter’s problem” he was tackling at that particular moment in time.
Beksinksi’s works are typically grouped in two periods. His earlier works are in the style of utopian realism, scenes of gothic or baroque inspired surrealism with expressionistic colour depicting something akin to an end of the world scenario. The second period of artworks are more abstract in nature with strong roots in formalism. These works are often regarded by critics as being less fictional and surreal with a lack of cruelty which many had associated with Beksinski after his earlier works.
As dark and macabre as this artist’s work appears, it has nothing on the murderous greed which took his life at the age of 75. In 2005, Beksinski was horrifically murdered by the son of a close friend. For denying the young man a loan of $100, Zdzislaw Beksinski was brutally stabbed 17 times and left to die in his Warsaw apartment, Poland. A tragic ending for this accomplished and talented artist. To see more of Beksinski’s artistic legacy please visit his website.