Sunday, August 17, 2008
Henry Darger (1892-1972), a creative genius, took nearly 11 years to finish handwriting his masterpiece. No one knew that this seemingly mentally disturbed recluse was creating awe inspiring work in his second-floor Chicago room. 15,145 pages long, the The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, recounts the tale of seven sisters who are princesses of Abbiennia. And as Raquel pointed out to me earlier today, "his artwork is full of religious imagery from his Catholic upbringing, and...in his drawings, children of both sexes have penises, because he wasn't aware of the differences between men and women." The illustrations are innocently beautiful, entwined with a kind of naivete generally reserved for children's drawings. They are provoking and utterly accessible. If you haven't already, I suggest you netflix the 2004 documentary "In the Realms of the Unreal".