• JOE WOODWARD

Theatre and Slightly Death

Updated: Sep 12


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As a creator or participant of theatre have you ever been in the presence of the Slightly Death?


Wolfgang Grasse (1930-2008) created art works that featured a very slightly Death drawn from his experience of having been in Dresdon as a child when it was destroyed by allied bombing during world war two and later when he was a prisoner for eight years in a Russian Gulag in Poland. His works featured what he termed "Fantastic Realism" that used very deliberate symbols and departed from the original surrealism of automatism while still creating distorted forms associated with Surrealist art. His work is wonderous and regularly visited by the thin and very slight death figures juxtaposed with the images similar to those strange creatures of Hieronymus Bosch. But it is the artist himself who was guided by the Slightly Death in virtually everything he did. And here lies the beautiful muse of a kind of spiritual world that can inhabit artistic creation in all of us.


interview with Grässe broadcast on Australian television





We see in his painting "Dresdon 1945 Self Portrait" (painted in 1992) the slightly Death figure acting as a dark muse. This image is well worth pondering.


So what scares you? What are you ashamed of? What is embarrassing? I suggest it is worth allowing that Slightly Death muse into your psyche and allow its disturbing form to guide your creative spirit. Grasse was a painter. But his reflections and motivations cover all arts. Theatre just needs to wake up to the haunting and allow its dreamlike phantoms to help invest in one's own talent and creative output.

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