Monday, December 7, 2009

Henry Darger

In 1909, Henry Darger began to create his 15,000 page book titled "In the Realms of the Unreal." The book was a wild fantasy about a unordinarily brave and courageous group of girls called the Vivian girls. Many people refer to Darger's book as, "His own little world," which it indeed is. When Darger began the artwork for this book, he invented several of his own techniques. He collected numerous pictures from magazines and such and pasted them into phone books and etc., making collages and overlapping the pictures. He would also copy the pictures and trace them, and in 1940 he began to use photo enlargers. The images and creatures he created were numerous with bold and bright colors and whimsical landscapes.

I think that Darger could be considered an "outsider artist" because of his strange techniques and because the art itself is very different with a very different subject matter. It's as if he created the book as a self-therapy for himself, a world in which the children are brave, and battle real wars with the adults. It also could have been a way for him to show his "life story" the way he saw it. His subject is such an "outsider" one that it alone gives him reason to be considered an outsider artist. He seemed to have pored out his feelings about his childhood into his book from his childish perspective.

The extremely whimsical landscapes and coloring could also be considered "outsider." His art has a very child-like quality to it. And it does appear that he never really grew up. He loved and seemed to be fascinated so much by children that he never truly became an adult, and according to his story, somewhat viewed them as evil and vicious. He obviously depicted female anatomy wrong, and for what reason I'm not sure. Perhaps he really didn't know, or maybe it was all a part of this crazy world he built. I think most modern art could be considered outsider art being that there are numerous child-like and colorful colleges and such that look very similar to Darger's art. He also had a very different subject and believe depicted through his art, just like many modernist artists.

He was obviously a very strange man because of his extremely little socialization with people. I don't know if this would qualify him as crazy though; although the speaking to himself in his apartment throughout the day was quite odd, but he never harm anybody. He was innocent, but obviously something was mentally wrong with him. He was just immensely lonely, and created this fantasy world to avoid the real reality of his sad and lonely life.

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