Cutting up the Rug De Chirico’s Dionysian Landscape: Nietzschean Themes in Metaphysical Painting

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My paintings emerge from a Nietzschean framework best defined by perspectivism. I would like to demonstrate this intellectual attitude in my imagery. An attitude that deprivileges rationalism includes the sceptical or unknown as the original starting point for images. In other words, the images are seen as a being in a state of evolving or becoming. The artist historically most representative of this philosophical symbiosis is the Italian Metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico. It is synonymous when speaking of de Chirico to inevitably speak of Nietzsche, the painter’s passionate references to Nietzschean themes, his poetic values and use of mythology have all contributed to my creative model.

De Chirico’s imagery is characterised largely by a contrast between appearance and reality and this is my grounds for selecting him. His use of seemingly straightforward, ordinary images suggests a sense of accessibility, yet at the same time irreducible to knowing. De Chirico’s art, like Nietzsche’s philosophy seeks in its processes to explore the possible unity of Dionysian aesthetic force with the Apollonian. Neither Nietzsche nor de Chirico considered within a post-Socratic world that this unity was realizable. Nevertheless they both share a need to represent the relentless struggle, to enact the disjunction of the two aesthetic forces in a secular world. Rather than de Chirico being influenced by Nietzsche, I would argue that Nietzsche’s philosophical point of view and his use of poetic language are used to discover the qualities and substance of the Dionysian spirit.


Keywords: Enigmatic Painting, Nietzsche, Metaphysical Art
Stream: Meaning and Representation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Deborah Walker

Senior Lecturer, School of Communication & Creative Arts, Arts Faculty, University
Australia

Practising painter, lecturer in visual arts, exhibited nationally and internationally regularly.

Ref: A07P0119