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Arthur Szukalski - Polish sculptor

Dirk diggler 10 | 4,585
4 Jan 2019 #1
Just watched this video about a Polish artist (sculptor mostly) that was apparently quite famous, but haven't heard of him. I've seen the topor/eagle before, but never put two and two together.

Anyway, it's on Netflix called Struggle: The Life And Lost Art of Szukalski. Pretty good watch. Dude lived through WW1, interwar Poland, WW2 and then spent the rest of his time in USA. He died before he saw Poland independent of the commies. Pretty good watch. The movie is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio who's father (a producer) along with a few other names like Ben Hecht (original Scarface, Gone With The Wind, etc.) was friends with Szukalski.

Here is preview.
Spike31 3 | 1,813
4 Jan 2019 #2
Yes, this looks very interesting

OP Dirk diggler 10 | 4,585
4 Jan 2019 #3
I never heard of him but he was ridiculously popular in both Poland and the USA before Ww2. Unfortunately the Nazis destroyed much of his works. Ironically they tried to hire him to sculpt Hitler and Goering but rejected him when he sent a sample of Hitler as a ballerina.

Dude had one hell of an imagination that's for sure. Some of his works are like out of this world and he had so many different styles. I found out several of his works are on permanent display at the Polish museum in Chicago which I'll have to check out.

Crow would especially love his works as many are influenced by pre Christian Slavic mythology
Spike31 3 | 1,813
5 Jan 2019 #4
Yes, he is not very well known in modern Poland since he emigrated to the US right after the end of WWII and commies officially banned those that they couldn't control.

It didn't help that he was a very controversial artist and behind iron curtain there was no room for experiments and only for socialist realism style.

To influence others with own creations and to spread new ideas is the highest level of achievement that one can have in his life.

Back then there was room only for false communist ideas in people's republic [with the exception for illegal independent underground press].

delphiandomine 88 | 18,163
5 Jan 2019 #5
behind iron curtain there was no room for experiments and only for socialist realism style.

Your knowledge of that era seems to be lacking. Quite a lot of good art came out of the PRL - for instance, there's something interesting here:

Socialist realism never really took off in Poland.
Spike31 3 | 1,813
5 Jan 2019 #6
Your knowledge of that era seems to be lacking

Before you start lecturing me about Polish culture, which I find quite amusing :-), first you have to get familiar with what socialist realism was and in which era it was the most active and the most influential style in Poland.

That would be the period from right after WWII to 1956, that is to Polish Thaw. So for over 10 years no work of art which contradicted socialist realism was allowed. That's hardly an environment for an independent artist.

During that time a Polish future nobelist Czeslaw Milosz defected to the US and wrote his best novel which describes a communist totalitarian mind control "The Captive Mind". Czeslaw Milosz was banned [censored] in People's Republic until winning his nobel prize in 1980 when commies could no longer deny his existence and his talent.

After 1956 the freedom of artistic expression has widened [but was still not very vast] until the collapse of a communist block. Yet up until 1989 every major work of art such as film had to be approved by the office of censorship and obviously financed by the government since there were no private film or recording studios in Poland back then.

Was any significant work of art created after 1956? Yes, plenty, but it had to be apolitical.

Artist were not allowed to criticize communist party and communism as a whole and even a sensitive historical subjects, such as past Russo-Polish affairs were heavily censored or completely banned. Historical works of Polish nobelist Sienkiewicz, such as With Sword and Fire, comes in mind .

Socialist realism never really took off in Poland.

It didn't took off in minds of most of the Poles yet it was officially enforced on Poland, and this ugly building founded by Stalin himself is one of the most visible signs of it.

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