Mantong and Protong: Richard Sharpe Shaver and Stanislav Szukalski
Pasadena City College Art Gallery presents an exhibition featuring two extraordinary artists who each created work based on their singular conclusions about the lost origins of human culture: Stanislav Szukalski (1893 - 1987) and Richard S. Shaver (1907 - 1975). The exhibit includes drawings, paintings, sculpture, original manuscripts, rare publications, studio ephemera and recorded interviews with the late artists.
Stanislav Szukalski was a celebrated artist in his native Poland during the 1920s and '30s, acclaimed for his detailed and elaborately symbolic sculpture that combines elements evocative of European avant-gardes and Meso-American iconography. Tragically, much of Szukalski's life's work was destroyed or lost during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw.
Szukalski relocated to the United States in 1939. For the last decades of his life, living in relative obscurity in the San Fernando Valley, California, he focused on his science of Zermatism, a comprehensive theory of human pre-history that he developed through an extensive body of drawings, writings and sculpture.
Richard Shaver gained fame in the post-WWII era in the United States as the author of science fiction stories (mostly published in the pulp magazine Amazing Stories) that he insisted were fundamentally true. He told of malevolent creatures who live underground, where they manipulate contemporary humans via fantastic mind-controlling machines created eons ago by technologically superior races that have long since abandoned earth. "The Shaver Mystery," as it became known, was a phenomenon in the science fiction world for a few years, as thousands of readers stepped forward to affirm the truth of Shaver's claims.
In later years, Shaver became convinced that certain stones were actually manufactured objects containing text and imagery; these stones being a kind of book made by those advanced antediluvian races. He produced paintings and photographs based on these "rock books," in order to reveal the true history of intelligent life on earth.