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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » December 16, 2009
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Spiritual Self-Portraits
December 16, 2009 By Dariusz Pietrzak   
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The Profil Gallery in Poznań is staging an exhibition of paintings by Zdzisław Beksiński (1929-2005), one of the most original Polish painters of the 20th century.

The exhibition is a rare opportunity to become acquainted with less known aspects of Beksiński's work. The painter has been predominantly associated with dark, threatening landscapes, even if he himself did not perceive them as such, and haunting scenes. Many of his works depict ruins of bizarre buildings and strange, dehumanized figures. With the passage of time, Beksiński reduced the components of a picture to a single figurative motif. His palette gradually headed towards monochromatic tonality.

At the beginning of his career, Beksiński mainly produced photography, photography collages and sculpture before finally focusing on painting, to which he devoted the rest of his life. Interestingly, he did not paint on canvass but on hardboard. The exhibition in Poznań shows off Beksiński's paintings, including works on glass dating back to the 1950s, that reveal a different side to this unusual artist. The works have mostly remained unknown to the general public, who tend to think of Beksiński as an artist with a dark imagination, a current he explored mainly in the 1970s.

The key theme of this exhibition is the human figure and animals in the work of Beksiński. These motifs are always present in the painter's work. Beksiński deformed human and animal bodies and made them look malevolent and menacing, thus creating, as he used to say, a spiritual self-portrait. The exhibition comprises about 60 works employing a variety of visual techniques.

Poznań, Profil Gallery of Contemporary Art, Zamek Cultural Center, 80/82 ¦więty Marcin St.; open until Jan. 9.
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