Showing posts with label violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label violence. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

`normal' violence

when i found the victim under a street lamp, there was little i could do ~ frank waaldijk
when i found the victim under a street lamp, there was little i could do (own work, 2012, 24 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

the daily `normal' violence in our society is something i find hard to bear. i remember reading some story by a russian writer (turgenev? chekhov? i really don't recall) in which the main character is shocked by seeing someone receive a fist blow on the street. `in this modern day, in this 19th century, how could it be possible?´, the character thinks (or something similar).

reading this passage, i found it more shocking to see that actually we have become far more violent since then. today, i sometimes have to switch channels because some movie or tv series depicts horrible violence in a very graphic way. and what about the gaming industry?

but let alone the graphic visualisations, it seems we accept a disheartening level of violence in our day-to-day life. a fist blow on the street doesn't quite begin to cover it. is george steiner right, when he says our civilization is past its prime?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

of human relations 4: drawings from my sketchbooks

[repeated: `as i said, i'm looking for new ways to visualize human relations, feelings, real-life struggle as well as uplifting moments. looking back on centuries of art, i find myself surprised that there is so little art which addresses this in a way that i find provoking, uplifting, inspiring.

this gives new motivation to continue my investigation. i feel sure enough of the emotive strength of the drawings which come up in this sense. and this translates into paintings as well. but enough words, the images themselves should be stronger.']

sleeping woman ~ frank waaldijk
sleeping woman (own work, 2010, 10 x 15 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

fighting in the street ~ frank waaldijk
fighting in the street (own work, 2010, 10 x 15 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

compassion ~ frank waaldijk
compassion (own work, 2010, 10 x 15 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

grief and comfort iv ~ frank waaldijk
grief and comfort iv (own work, 2012, 20 x 25 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

Friday, March 9, 2012

nudity, nudity in art, violence & societal hypocrisy 2

in the previous post, i wrote from the premisse -for the time of that post being, for the sake of argument- that there is a proximity of nudity and sex.

however, this proximity is largely fueled by our own society's prudishness. in many more cultured `primitive' societies (in a warmer climate than our dutch one, i admit), nudity is/was a normal state of affairs, and not associated with sex at all.

this phenomenon can be easily observed for oneself, by visiting a sauna (in our parts of the world, people are generally naked in the sauna) or a nudist beach or similar. when everyone is naked, nudity quickly becomes normal, and the sexual part of it diminishes rapidly.

there is another effect of nudity which then becomes clear (when we have stopped associating it with sex). namely, nudity often dissolves status. nudity often dissolves power. we are all equal animals, under the naked sun.

yet many people are embarrassed by nudity, be it nudity of others or their own. this again in my eyes has largely to do with society's strange norms on beauty, ideal body proportions, sex, but also on openness, vulnerability.


we dress up, to cover ourselves. cover your ass...this expression is not coincidental. and `cover your ass' in my eyes is a very big contributor to the sabotage of societal change and improvement. when searching for `cover your ass', observe that google does not auto-suggest this search term...because ass is considered a possibly offensive word by hypocritical can we become?

conversely, when we are naked, we become ... in a sense open, unveiled, unthreatening, vulnerable, power-less, unequipped for violence, status-less, unmarked by social/societal trappings,...although of course we are then clearly man or woman.

but look around you, in our dressed world. is not everybody almost immediately distinguishable as man or woman? we seem to think this a very important distinction, and whole marketing campaigns are based on this difference. actually, our society is almost obsessed with sex and gender difference to the point of mental ill-health. certainly when you compare it to many of the easy, uncomplicated `primitive' societies i mentioned earlier.

so this is where our hypocrisy becomes clear. we are obsessed, as a society, with sex and sexuality...but we frown upon nudity, and google's safe search and search-suggestions shows that we actively try to maintain this situation in which nudity is charged...perhaps BECAUSE we wish to keep it charged, because of our fixation on sex.


can there be a more innocent scene than naked children playing on the beach? however, things have gone so far that an artistic photographer will scratch his/her head twice before displaying pictures of naked children...because almost certainly someone will cry: abuse! porn!

but the world press photo award invariably goes to a photographer who has managed to capture a moment of great human tragedy...often extreme violence due to war, terrorism,...


this is the sad sad situation in which i find myself as an artist. for years and years, nudity didn't interest me very much, because i saw it as a cliché. in classical art, i often saw nudity which struck me as artificial, maybe even as a cover-up for erotic desires without daring to be explicit about those desires. in more modern art, i saw a lot of nudity which struck me as a cliché also, in its (perceived by me) intent to shock, or to show the daring of the artist, or ...

but lately i have come to realize that all these so-called liberations of the sixties and seventies and... haven't liberated us in the least. not really.

in a society liberated from this sex-obsession, nudity would not be such a problem. and sexual violence would be virtually absent. sexual violence in our society occurs appallingly frequently, but of course no one talks about it.


and what about sexual exploitation? in our society this is extremely appalling also. the scale of sexual slavery in prostitution-related business is truly shocking. in this, our own oh so `developed' society. and nobody talks about it. we have `liberated' tv-shows, in which mostly youthful people show any body part in any situation...mostly under influence of a lot of alcohol or other drugs. but it is a rare occasion indeed to see a documentary on the sexual slavery involved in prostitution-related business.


so, you tell me why i'm finding myself reconsidering nudity as a cliché. i recently posted a painting called `the artist is always naked' which reflects some of this reconsidering. but there are many other connotations, which i find myself drawn to investigate. nudity and innocence, for instance.

on wikipedia, you can also read on nudity and art, and nudity in general. and what about google/blogger/blogspot?

well, i simply consider whatever i post on this blog to be artistic...therefore covered by the exception rule.

the artist is always naked ii ~ frank waaldijk
the artist is always naked ii (own work, 2012, 21 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

and as a reference to the `primitive' society i mentioned:

self-portrait as naked shaman ~ frank waaldijk
self-portrait as naked shaman (own work, 2012, 21 x 29 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

nudity in art, violence & societal hypocrisy (also google, blogspot)

i've been putting this post off, since it bothers me that it should be necessary -in this day and age- to write about this subject.

all animals are nude. all humans are nude, under their clothes, under the shower, on the toilet seat, what have you. this nudity is natural, far more natural than its covering up.

yet, in this day and age, which is supposed to be modern, we still are the most absolute prudes when it comes to nudity. nudity is shameful. many consider nudity obscene. why, is probably because of the perceived proximity between nudity and sex, or sexual reproduction.

suppose even for a minute that this is true, this proximity. then still: all animals have sex. sexual reproduction is as natural as eating and drinking. however, in the `higher' animals, selection of a mate involves mating behaviour rituals. i can imagine that some form of seclusion, hidden-from-prying-eyes, is part of our natural mating ritual.

this does not for one minute start to explain why this `modern' society is so fxxxed up about sex, pardon my language. and much less so, why nudity-which-can be-seen is considered such a big deal.

oh, you think i'm exaggerating, do you?

for your information, before even being able to let this blog come to you, i have to let google/blogger/blogspot know that this blog does not contain `adult content'. since this is primarily an art blog, i would suppose that it fulfills the criteria for not being `offensive'...but this may need some attention. what does google/blogger/blogspot mean by `adult content'? now, the thing is, i'm allowed to WRITE about sex, porn, anything you like...but i'm not allowed to post IMAGES of nudity...except for medical, or educational reasons...and they may allow artistic nudity on an exception-basis, individually accorded...

of course, i can post most if not all images of extreme violence, no problem, without being subjected to likewise ... intelligence-insulting, spirituality-insulting conditions.

would you believe this? i still have a hard time believing it. google's safe search does not filter out extreme violence, it filters out nudity (and sex, and porn). so imagine this child of say 9 years old. as a society we seriously consider it dangerous for this child to see images of nudity, but we think it's ok if this child sees beheadings, bombings, dead and mutilated victims of crimes...

and everybody says, well ok, i get that, that's logical...

making love is considered dangerous, killing is considered safe. i'm not exaggerating. this is the level of hypocrisy in our society, just in regard to nudity and sex. because for instance the painting below has been considered a true spiritual and classical work of art for centuries:

titiaan, venus van urbino
titian, venus of urbino

but manet's rendition of a similar lady raised a scandal:

edouard manet, olympia
édouard manet, olympia

(please follow the links by clicking on the paintings names, to read more about these paintings and the reactions to them).


just for your information: i consider most nudity to be a natural state of things. i consider most (non-exploiting) consensual sexual images to be a natural state of things. i think non-violent or non-degrading and non-exploiting porn to be generally loveless, but not very dangerous.

but i have never been so utterly sick as when i was watching a news report in which a soldier casually shot an innocent stander-by dead, just for nothing, out of irritation, boredom, `kicks'...who knows.


we live in a society that spiritually speaking is more primitive than most societies we call `primitive'. and we are extreme hypocrites about nudity, sex and violence. is it any wonder that we are obsessed with sex and violence and technology in movies, rather than with love, building together, nature?

and we have not progressed much in the past 100 years, on the contrary i would say.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

refugee father & child

frank waaldijk, refugee father & child
refugee father & child
own work ~ 2006-2009 ~ 120 x 200 cm ~ acrylic on canvas

although i have difficulty photographing the colours adequately (they are more brilliant, especially some of the yellow) the painting speaks for itself, i believe. but perhaps i could add a few words on the themes which drove me to this work.


images of father & child are relatively rare in art. i don't think that this is a coincidence. somehow our society seems preoccupied with -in my not so humble opinion (imnsho)- silly preconceptions about woman-man differences. we have tons of `madonna-with-child'-like imagery, reflecting the cliché that children are raised by the loving care of the mother, much more than by the loving care of the father.

imnsho, we desperately need to change many of these man-woman clichés which are so dominant. a loving father's and mother's presence to me both seem essential in any upbringing - even though many of us have to do without one, the other or both.

the discrimination between the sexes is traditionally seen as holding women back from good job perspectives, economic independence, sexual independence,... but how often do we stop to consider the role patterns that hold men back from becoming loving fathers? from becoming actively involved in the raising of the children, from being a family- and community-involved person, instead of a career-, money-, power-driven one?


anyway, i think a loving, present father can be a rock of security in a child's world. a safe haven, a protector, a comforting presence.

in the painting, i was also driven by the theme of war & violence, which is so predominant in the world. we are all connected. anyone's war is our war, and our concern i believe. why do we let ourselves be driven by racism, fear, greed, violence, power?

in the refugee father, i have tried to paint this. and yet his child sleeps in his arms, feeling safe, protected, knowing the father is there. but where are the mother, and the other children?

so perhaps i should add that the father understands we cannot even protect our loved ones from the violence in this world.