A Depraved Brutality: The Art of Aleksandra Waliszewska

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Polish artist Aleksandra Waliszewska creates some of your most brutal nightmares: those savage, dreadful dreams that set a deep sleeper to screaming, and where upon waking, you can only gibber incoherent nonsense regarding your nocturnal horrors and why you were moved to wet the bed in terror last night.

Unfortunate events abound, and a trail of carnage, both physical and psychological, is an underlying theme that streaks gore-soaked and deep through Waliszewska’s paintings. Whether random or ritualistic, the violence runs rampant, with characters either coming to brutal ends or who are depicted perpetrating and engaging in the brutality themselves. Sometimes it is unclear as to who is the victim and who is the villain, and yet, even those who would seem blood-splattered prey possess malignant, nearly obscene expressions. Even the animals in Wasilewska’s depraved visions sport sly, wicked countenances.

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Beasts of every variety, as well as children–creatures one normally associates with innocence and purity–are in on the mayhem as well, participating in malicious behaviors and gruesome, perverse deeds. Whether against the backdrop of a well-lit classroom, a shadowy forest landscape, or the viscera-strewn confines of a dusty cave, madness, magic, and mythology cavort in hand in bloody hand.

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And yet we can’t look away, can we? Waliszewska is flaying the face of the mundane and peeling back the layers to give us a peek at what lies beneath–attraction and repulsion and the multilayered shitshow strata that is the human condition.

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When it comes to the the symbolism and meaning one might be inclined to seek in the jarring imagery and morbid figures she creates, one gets the sense from previous interviews and commentary from the artist herself that Waliszewska is more interested in form and emotion than imbuing her works with a deeper forethought and “over-intellectualizing” such things. An artist of few words, when asked what it is that draws people to her work, she notes laconically, “…I can only deduce it has something to do with fascination with sex and violence.” (source)

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A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and recipient of scholarships awarded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Aleksandra Waliszewska has had more than 20 solo exhibitions in Poland and abroad over the past decade, and has her work published in collections by My Dance The Skull, United Dead Artists, Les Editions Du 57, Drippy Bone Books, and Editions Kaugummi.

All images owned by Aleksandra Waliszewska. Her work can be found on her tumblr, her flickr and her Facebook page.

(This article was originally posted at Dirge; the site is no longer active.)

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