Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Creative genius, and Swedish to boot!

"I love her and she loves me, and we hate each other with a wild hatred born of love." -August Strindberg

Ever since I studied existentialism in high school, I have loved August Strindberg. He possessed that same intense Nordic perspective--combined with just the right amount of absinthe and alchemy--that drew me to Edvard Munch and Karin Boye. His outlook on life and the world was, in my eyes, equally as bitter and contemptuous as it was exhilarated and reverent. Besides, we share the same birthday.

My minor field of study in college was Swedish Language & Literature, and I read many of Strindberg's plays, short stories and essays. Though I really found myself drawn to his paintings and photographs. He painted a number of dark, brooding landscapes; canvasses thick with densely layered oils. His photographs were mostly self portraits and role exploration, and always make me think of Cindy Sherman and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. There's a real voyeuristic tone there,but it's more comfortable because the artist is inviting--if not demanding--you to take a look. Maybe it's my delightfully eccentric sense of humor. Maybe it's my notoriously short attention span. Personally, I like to think that it's my deep sense of respect for Strindberg's written and visual arts that make it so very easy for me to enjoy this link that was randomly stuck at the very bottom of a They Might Be Giants newsletter... After all, what good is anything in life if you can't poke a little fun at it every now and then? This is just one more way to enjoy the melancholy prose of a Scandinavian Superstar--with Flash animation!

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