Zdzisław Beksiński (1929-2005)
This is an artist I am so very passionate when talking about, and not just for his works alone – but the way he was as a person that discussed his art. The works of Zdzisław Beksiński are haunting, terrifying, and even ethereal. Although he earned his wages by working as a construction site supervisor, art was his true interest. Photography, sculpture, painting, and later photomanipulation, Beksiński was interested in many kinds of media. Seeing his works, you can clearly identify his interest in the abstract and surreal. Although he received no formal artistic education, Beksiński became a very well-off artist. His exhibitions were completely successful and he became a big name in the Polish art scene.
Very few artists are truly as passionate and absolutely knowledgable on their own work in the way Zdzisław Beksiński was. Watching interviews with him are a treat and it is easy to get caught up in his words. He worked constantly with his art, it was much more than a job for him. Setting himself in routine with his process, always listening to classical music (or occasionally rock music), saying himself: “In principle, without music and Nescafe I somehow can’t paint.”
While his works appear rather horrifying, Beksiński was an obvious bubbly and pleasant person. His earlier works depicted grim subject matter with often vivid colours, however his later works held a more limited colour palette. This was obviously noted by his fans and he was questioned about it, with his answer being: “I feel that a painting is richer when the colour is presented not so intrusive, no obvious way.” Beksiński was a man who knew every inch of his works. When he would begin a painting he wouldn’t know where or how it would end, but he understood the workings of them. I strongly recommend watching his interviews because there is nothing more beautiful than watching an artist as passionate as he was, speak so strongly, and with complete understanding.
As for the end of Beksiński’s life, he tragically lost his wife and son. Five years later he was stabbed to death, in 2005.
Above: Zdzisław Beksiński never named his works, so they all remain “Untitled.”