The name Szukalski was on my research list for several years already but it took a Netflix film to finally understand what kind of genius this man was. The fascinating artist portrait is very well done and I want to recommend it to everyone: Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski
Stanisław Szukalski (1893-1987) was a Pole, and that fact summarizes most of his biography, by his own account. This strong nationalistic affinity, coupled with a megalomaniac self-image made him the priest of a nation, that was to hail him the greatest of living artists.
I put Rodin in one of my pockets, and Michelangelo in the second, and head towards the Sun.
Despite his indisputable artistic genius, his path towards the sun eventually burned him, and his legacy sank into oblivion. When the 20th-century fascism gained momentum across Europe, Szukalski’s chauvinistic stance and monumental style were destined to secure him a prominent role. His artistic vision between spiritual eroticism and temple art seems to be the perfect incarnation of those ideas of self-exaltation. He propagated antisemitism, made a sculpture for Mussolini, and was asked to design a Hitler monument, only to later see his life’s work consumed by those very forces.
I have the feeling that he never recovered from this shattering disillusionment of being so terribly wrong in his beliefs. I also see this reflected in the new project he pursued during the last decades of his life, so divorced from reality that it could never fail him again. He called his theory Zermatism, a twisted pseudo-scientific rewriting of human evolution, that sees mankind originating from Easter Island, and blames all evil in the world on a Yeti race crossbreeding with humans.