Striptease for dessert
We went to see the pictures. As he placed them one by one on a shaky easel, Beda never looked at us. A great world was unfolding from this tiny back-room.
I understood why the artist coined his art a striptease. It really is a stripping act showing the deep essence of life, its theater, its body movements and its complete incomprehension of itself. Passionate, frenzied colors in combinations hardly ever found in nature, only in a dream, compose a complete world, alarmed and defenseless, both crying out and silent, all contrasts finding their unity. The faces in the paintings are featureless; the masks, on the contrary, are given features. His dolls, Harlequins, butterflies and cats watch us skeptically. They doom our efforts to penetrate inside, into this alien, different life, let alone understand it.
Beda was a man of few words but spoke eloquently through his pictures. He modeled sandwiches from his dreams. The world is unknowable, man is unknowable, all is mystery… but when I arrived he glowed with joy. Beda was amorous, just like his brother Leo. I often look at his lithograph “Love” from 1933. Quite frivolous. Just before her death, Hanna showed me a photo of a girl Beda had been in love with before her, and who died of tuberculosis. Was it her, embraced by the artist? After Beda married Hanna, he hardly drew openly erotic pictures, although eroticism remained one of his cornerstones. Even Death he perceived in erotic terms. “If today I am standing in front of hm-hm… paradise, and I am ringing at the door, so I think, it should give a man some satisfaction, a satisfaction, almost, I would say, in the erotic sense.”