The Lessons of Szukalski's Struggle
I had never heard of Stanislav Szukalski until we came across a fascinating documentary called Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski on Netflix last night. The depth of suffering evident in his work and in his person near the end of his life have left my heart aching a bit. But mostly, the radical change in how he saw the world and the people in it following his experience of war holds an important lesson that we obviously still haven't learned. After life caused him to become the outsider–the lesser-than–his ideologies shifted. In spite of his narcissistic tendencies, his attempts to rewrite history seem to be coming from a deep-rooted wish to unite.
According to The Observer, "The nationalistic undertones of the work and his affinity for mythological megalomania—Szukalski tended to view himself as a god-like figure of the arts—have direct roots in the parts of his life that are intertwined with 20th century fascism" (Hubert). The documentary, championed by Leonardo DiCaprio, awakens discomforting realizations on the path to understanding this man. Definitely worth a viewing.
Hubert, Craig. “Who Is Stanislav Szukalski, the Obscure Artist Leonardo DiCaprio Is Trying to Make Famous?” Observer, Observer, 26 Dec. 2018, observer.com/2018/12/stanislav-szukalski-leonardo-dicaprio-netflix-documentary-struggle-polish-artist/.