Thursday, March 27, 2008

Henry Darger

These are some of the images drawn by Henry Darger. Chris was right- the collection, the novel, was over 15,000 pages long. His opus was titled:

"The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion."

The first photo is actually of Darger's 1 bedroom apartment in Chicago. He died in the 70's and after his death (particularly in the 90's) became a well-known example of an "outsider" artist. I looked for photos of his writings- but couldn't seem to find any examples online. The writings juxtaposed with the imagery are where I think he is most similar to the description of Zampano. Interestingly, much of the discussion surrounding Darger has to do with his mental health status. He's described as "a poor, unkempt, ill-educated, half-mad man lost in the fog of his own loneliness." ( His story parallels both Johnny and Zampano in that he was a man who held menial jobs, had lived in and out of institutional settings as a child and obviously was obsessed with an entirely fabricated world. Tearing it down and rebuilding it over and over and over again.

There is a ton of information on Darger online. Very interesting figure.

1 comment:

balford said...

I looked up Henry Darger on the internet and found out more on him, he was definitely an interesting person. It seems as though we cannot get away from this idea of re-representation as a technique used in narratives, as a way of conveying a certain message. It is said that Darger wandered the streets a lot collecting a lot of trash, which consisted of old magazines and newspapers which he then used in his story to represent characters and to convey thoughts on events that were going on during his time in his works of fiction. In fact, he obtained a picture of a young girl, who had been strangled, from a newspaper and used her as the model for a child character in his 15,000 page book. It seems that like Zampano and Johnny he was also using the works or art, in this case a picture, of others in order to re-create and at the same time create his own work.