Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Soundscape Keyframe: The Funeral (Grosz)

My painting is The Funeral by George Grosz. George Grosz was a german expressionist painter which I feel has a lot of scope for interesting sounds being about irrepression and surreality. The painting features a never ending funeral procession, in honour of the death of German psychiatrist and avant-garde writer Oskar Panizza. Panizza was famous for his play Liebeskonzil, which depicted the first outbreak of syphilis with a controversial portrayal of God leading the play to be deemed blasphemous. Panizza was sent to jail for his work- once released he lived out the rest of his life in exile. The painting follows his idea of humanity beyond repair, depicting a futuristic hellscape. the crowd is drunken and animalistic with the grim reaper riding on the coffin drinking from a bottle. Grosz said of the painting-

"In a strange street by night, a hellish procession of dehumanised figures mills, their faces reflecting alcohol, syphilis, plague ... I painted this protest against a humanity that had gone insane."

I feel the themes of the painting fit in perfectly with theatre practitioner Artaud, inventor of Theatre of Cruelty. Artaud liked to make his audience feel as uncomfortable as possible, drawing on the animalistic aspects of human nature with a strong use of grotesque sounds.

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