Saturday, April 01, 2006
The German painter Otto Dix is one of my favorites. His paintings can be down right hilarious and then at the same time very haunting, and for me, they are immediately engaging/entertaining. His portraits are especially odd, possessing the vulgarity of realistic portraiture and the simplification of caricature.
I know very little of his life but what I have read reveals an artist who was affected greatly by war. Having been a soldier in the German Army he saw first hand the brutality and repulsiveness of war. His depiction of trenches and war scenes show a curiosity/disgust with death. He even states in an interview in 1963:
"I had to experience how someone beside me suddenly falls over and is dead and the bullet has hit him squarely. I had to experience that quite directly. I wanted it. I'm therefore not a pacifist at all - or am I? - perhaps I was an inquisitive person. I had to see all that for myself. I'm such a realist, you know, that I have to see everything with my own eyes in order to confirm that it's like that. I have to experience all the ghastly, bottomless depths for life for myself; it's for that reason that I went to war, and for that reason I volunteered." (taken from: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ARTdix.htm)
This fascination with that which you despise interests me. Because he experienced war he has an even greater hatred of it and can somehow communicate that hatred and propagate it through his paintings.