29 July 2020

Otto Dix, and the problem of men and women together.

As a painter when I speak of colour I think about complimentary harmonies. I really cannot see one colour without perceiving its complement lurking right behind like shy girlfriend. What is a compliment harmony? A compliment to something is generally considered to be a quality which brings out the best in that object of which it is compared or to which it is contrasted. And herein it replicates relationships because just how many times have I found myself with girlfriends for whom I am an awful compliment. I seem to bring out the worst in them and it is usually a two way street, to be honest. Only in the past few years has this become apparent to me. Couples who bring out the worst in one another, alas, are not an uncommon sight. There are like in an Otto Dix painting, where warm pinks have sex with warm yellows, cold reds sleep drunkenly with cold greens. These couples clash like violins Stravinsky's in the Rite of Spring, but unlike in Stravinsky's creation there is rarely resolution. It is a life of continual disharmony. It's enough to make one single. 

But in a painting resolutions are real, and necessary, mostly, usually. There is the work of Otto Dix who defies this idea and turns it on its head out of sheer force of his intense originality. He was a painter of such visual force that he almost singlehandedly created a whole new genre of painting: Bad painting. His work was never 'bad' or 'kitsch' but a whole army of terrible painters certainly looked at his work and made wonderful kitsch from it filling hotel rooms the world over.


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