August Strindberg: Painter, Writer, Photographer by Olle Granath (ed); A Dream Play by August Strindberg - review by Paul Binding

Paul Binding

Artist of the Archipelago

August Strindberg: Painter, Writer, Photographer


Tate Publishing 160pp £19.99

A Dream Play



'Everything exists in everything,' August Strindberg pronounced from the depths of his immersion in Eastern religion. He had come to see resemblances between the markings on the shell of a crab and the patterns made by salt crystals after he'd left them in solution on sheets of glass; in cliffs going down to the sea he'd found his very own profile, upside down. The whole visible world presented, he felt, 'analogies' for the invisible without and the spiritual within, and artists must at once look hard about them and seek out the inner, the occult significance of what they saw. 'Copy nature,' yes, by all means (and in his earlier work, both literary and visual, Strindberg had made himself do so with nervous concentration), 'though never slavishly,' he added. 'Above all, imitate nature's own way of creating.'  

Nature's invention and resourcefulness appear infinite, and we can view Strindberg's restless adoptions of - and innovations in - a diversity of different media as a life's salutation to the essential creativity, however named, that informs the Universe. He was, and not merely successively (though at times one art form rather than another would dominate hls

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