Wednesday, July 6, 2011
video topic: Art, Illustration, subconscious, outsider art
entry type: Documentary (art)
video title: In the Realms of the Unreal
artist featured: Henry Darger
director: Jessica Yu
Narration: Dakota Fanning
producer: Susan West, PBS
run time: 81 mins
size: 898 mb
release date: 2004
description and preview:
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In the Realms of the Unreal is a 2004 documentary about outsider artist Henry Darger. Darger is known for his 15,143-page fantasy manuscript entitled 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, along with several hundred watercolor paintings and other drawings illustrating the story.
Henry Darger worked all his life in menial jobs in Chicago. Living alone and in poverty, he had no friends or close family. Spending all his off hours alone, he whiled away the hours working on a 15,000 page illustrated novel called The Realms of the Unreal. A stunning amalgam of religious imagery, fantasy, and heroic drama, the work was only discovered after Darger was moved to a hospital during the last days of his life. Darger also wrote journals and an autobiography. The documentary uses interviews with Darger's neighbors and narration of passages from his works, along with his illustrations, to explore the mind and work of Henry Darger.
The film's style is atypical of a documentary. Because there are only three known photographs of Darger, and because of his recluse-like lifestyle, the film is mostly a narrated biographical account, accompanied by animated versions of events from his magnum opus, which is also described in detail. However, interviews with his few neighbors and other acquaintances are included as well.
The film was directed by Jessica Yu. It won the National Film Board Award for Best Documentary at the 2004 Vancouver International Film Festival.
about Outsider art:
The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut (French: [aʁ bʁyt], "raw art" or "rough art"), a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture; Dubuffet focused particularly on art by insane-asylum inmates.
While Dubuffet's term is quite specific, the English term "outsider art" is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or Naïve art makers who were never institutionalized. Typically, those labeled as outsider artists have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions. In many cases, their work is discovered only after their deaths. Often, outsider art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds.
Outsider art has emerged as a successful art marketing category (an annual Outsider Art Fair has taken place in New York since 1992). The term is sometimes misapplied as a catch-all marketing label for art created by people outside the mainstream "art world," regardless of their circumstances or the content of their work.
about Henry Darger:
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