Zdzislaw Beksinski, Untitled, 1984

Two lovers embraced as they faced the end of the world; it feels as though their flesh has dried up and their mummified bodies are held in place through muscle memory. In the background the smoke has blotted out the sun. No life remains.

This work is a stand-out example of Beksinski’s dystopian surrealist style. Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro has said of Beksinski’s work: “In the medieval tradition, Beksinski seems to believe art to be a forewarning about the fragility of the flesh – whatever pleasures we know are doomed to perish – thus, his paintings manage to evoke at once the process of decay and the ongoing struggle for life. They hold within them a secret poetry, stained with blood and rust.”

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