NARRATOR: In 1968, archaeologists in Italy discovered an ancient fresco depicting a lone athlete diving into the water, presumably toward the afterlife. Thek undoubtedly heard about the find. The next year he painted his own diver images. The figure seems to serve as a surrogate for the artist himself, alone, engaged in a solitary search for sensation and meaning. Curator Elisabeth Sussman:
ELISABETHSUSSMAN: For us these paintings of the diver seemed to signify Thek’s great abilities as an artist and to somehow convey this state of mind of intensity and contemplation and purity in a very honest and direct and beautiful and extremely simple way. It’s an image that really does speak to what Thek is, in many ways, about.