Monday, April 1, 2013

The Skat Players

Artist Otto Dix created many grotesque paintings about dismemberment and war after coming home from WWI. His painting "The Skat Players" portrays 3 vets who have lost nearly everything but their brains and hearts.  The people are rigged up with an assortment of prosthesis, from a snake-like hearing tube to a metal jaw to wooden or metal limbs. They appear nearly as mechanical as they are human. In the background, a skull smiles down on them from the lamp.
The mechanical aspect of the players may represent the attitudes of the rulers who saw people as tools for victory, in the same way they would view a tank or gun. The collage of materials makes the situation seem a little less real, and it is almost necessary to use this technique to mitigate such a horrific scene and concept. Additionally, the collage technique and the pieced together players with their prosthesis create a sense of disorder, referencing the chaos Dix must have experienced while fighting.  The skull from the lamp shows the presence of death.
The whole scenario is one of disorder, jumbled and disjointed assembly, death, and chance, exactly what one would expect at war.

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