Otto Dix portrayed the harsh realities of war through a satirist approach. He uses Expressionism after experiencing war first hand and it becomes an imaginative myth and chaos of emotions.
The painting Memory of the halls of Mirrors shows a prostitute with a war soldier. Dix applies the idea of cubism and the mirror affect portraying expressionism. The technical aspects of the painting involving cubism and the mirror affect make it more interesting. The grotesque nature of this painting and other paintings bring up the question of it being a myth as why he was able to paint in such a way that shows the viewer the grotesque nature and these cartoonish figures that don’t look like humans yet through their body language and other details Dix is able to tell the bitter realities of war that involve sex, murder, death and torture. Otto Dix transposes cubism back into reality.
The Painting shows the place that was famous with the German soldiery of the First World War. It was accessible only to graduates brothel Brussels, known for its mirror games was famously known as “Cristal place” by its users. Otto Dix represents a heroic scene. This place allows him to multiply points of view, beyond what the cubist would have imagined. The paintings angles of view are near as well as distant visions. A view from below reveals the intimacy of female model. In early 20s the painting multiplies the representations of brothels and prostitution. Images of prostitution painted by Otto Dix have a more personal meaning. They are the negatives prosaic and reverse of sexuality associated with the vital principal of methodological Eros whose images he multiplied before the war.
In 1914, Dix was enlisted in the German army and was an active service man throughout war; Otto Dix first served as machine gunner and eventually reached the rank of master sergeant. Somewhere through portraying the harsh realities of war Otto Dix is questioning the overall cultural norm. His proclivity towards realism comes across as rebelling against the society’s bourgeoisie. Otto Dix first experienced expressionism when he was registered as a student at the school of Applied arts in Dresden. In Germany before World War 1 expressionist involved in work groups produced collective discourse defending the viewpoints and used art to challenge imperial culture and bourgeoisie society. Otto Dix was part of an entire generation of young German artists who believed war would be a way to renew and purify society, Otto Dix understood expressionism as way for expressing the revolutionary desire for social change. However Dix viewpoint changed quickly and soon he returned from this view as he witnessed the horror in trenches. Otto Dix carefully documented whatever he saw as he were a visual reporter. He explained that detailed realistic studies were necessary to understand this reality “He always drew, whether in pencil, charcoal, red chalk, ink, watercolor or gouache”. Dix stated that his works should not be viewed merely as propaganda but as pure descriptions of what he had observed. There are several reports that Dix systematically researched the negative effects of war. He portrayed anything but objective. In reality his work from this period represent a very personal inner emigration a means by which he would express his resistance but could to some extent remain same. Dix rejected a move to the USA, a free country on the grounds that he believed his act would be constrained, he has left us a body of work what was created under a dictatorship and which serves as an expression of opposition and resistance.
The symbolic repertoire of Dix undergoes at the end of the war a reversal comparable to that which affects is modernist stylistic convictions. Like its cubic and futuristic avant-gardism of warriors of the futurism of shell explosions, its conception of a universe polarized by the principles of life and death do not survive the carnage of war. The prostitute’s painted after the war is the allegories of a fallen Eros. Dix sought to employ personal accounts of wartime experience in order to mount a critique of prevailing social and political values. Like Dix, authors who had fought in trenches were motivated by the desire to articulate their experience with reference to their post war status as veterans. Anti-war sentiment necessarily constitutes a primary motivating influence in Dix work. The view that Dix nurtured a wholly negative attitude to his war experiences is prevalent.
Dix concerns of authenticity extend beyond his painstaking interpretation of what really happened at that time. During war he was wounded a number of times once almost fatally. War profoundly affected Dix and as an artist he took every opportunity both during his active serve and afterwards to document his experiences. These experiences became the subject matter of his later paintings however it was his imagination and emotions mixed with the experiences he had.
Dix work is less about documenting the experiences of the war in a way that many commissioned war artists do, although it does this as well, it is more about recapturing the nightmare like quality of its psychological impact, questioning the society’s norms and values and turning his experiences into a myth and giving them the name of expressionism.