Friday, December 12, 2008

Outside Artist

Henry Darger was born in Chicago in 1892. His mother died four years later leaving a poor and invalid father to try to care for him. His father could not take care of him, so he placed Henry in a catholic charitable school. As an elementary student, Henry excelled and was able to skip two grades, but as he got older he hard to control. He made lost of sounds using his mouth, which caused all kinds of trouble. In 1904 at the age of 12 or 13 he was sent to the Lincoln Asylum for feeble-minded children. On the state farm he was made to work until he ran away at the age of seventeen to go back to Chicago.
Henry Darger was a short, unkempt, recluse man, who spent his time as a janitor at a mental hospital, going to mass as many as five times a day, or rummaging through garbage cans for newspapers and magazines for his pictures. He lived in a tiny cluttered apartment, where people said they heard him talking to him self in a bewildering array of voices, while pecking away at an ancient typewriter. Darger was a self taught artist and it took his death for anybody to notice his talents. He created books and paintings that empowered children, using narrative and story telling to build a new world and rewrite the injustice of his unhappy childhood. Darger's heroines were called the Vivian girls, the girls were very clever, courageous,strong and able to change their world. Darger's choice to create another world for himself in his room let him feel truly alive where he could be the beloved savior of children. He created artwork to bring out his imaginary friends and give him the only kind of relationship he ever knew. He brings the story of the Vivian girls to life in what is known as the Realms of the Unreal of the Glandeeo-Angellnian War caused by the children slave rebellion. Darger describes the combat of the virtuous and immortal Vivian girls who are helped by Captain Henry Darger, the leader of the organization, to protect the children from the evil adults who attempt to capture, torture them and assassinate them and induce them into slavery. Darger used newspaper clipping, drawings, magazines, comic book cartoons, coloring book, tracing paper and used photographic enlargements in order to duplicate the same image and create larger armies of children. He illustrated a world torn apart by war in which the children are enslaved. White children, mostly girls, that appear unclothed emphasized by youth and innocence in which good should triumph over evil and the children should be free.
I first thought that Darger was just a sick man who lived in a perverts world but as the film goes on i feel as if he was a very lonely man who built a world of mystery because his reality was so bad. i think he was mentally off but not dangerous. He really did not understand the difference in male or females genitalia and may have suffered form gender confusion possible caused by abuse as a child. I think Darger was clean of heart, a kind of saint that was very lonely and left beautiful works of art. Considering the vast number and outstanding works of art he created it is a shame that nobody noticed until after he had died.

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