Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Hero Käthe Schmidt Kollwitz (July 8, 1867 – April 22, 1945)

Today is the birthday anniversary of German painter, printmaker and sculptor Käthe Kollwitz's birthday. She is one of my favorite artists, despite my aversion of her dark images when I was a child.

She was well known in China, largely due to the introduction of a very influential left wing writer, LU Xun, who was active in the 1930s. What I saw in her works, when I was little, were nothing but scary images of the hollowed eyes crazy and demonic figures. I couldn't stare at those screaming images long to contemplate the meanings and beauty hidden.

When I grew older, and more experienced, I became drawn to her works like moth dancing around fire. Her works exert an enormous influence on my thoughts and my works. Her unflinching approach to human miseries due to poverty and war, was the epitome what an artist ought do.

More than 100 years after her birth, 55 years after her death, the world has not learned the lessons from her time and ignored her eloquent and often searing accounts of the sad human conditions in the first half of the 20th century. The misery continues, therefore the duty of artists to document and to illuminate continues.

Killed in Action

Woman with Dead Child

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