Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The 20th Century Art Book: Bellmer

Bellmer, H. (1939) A Thousand Girls (oil on board) (Private collection)

"The shape of a woman emerges from a mass of limbs and organic forms resembling fruit or vegetables. Her hair is piled on top of her head, and seems to be composed of pears and pumpkins. The whole arrangement appears to be in danger of toppling over, but it is pinned in place by the scaffolding-like structure in the background. The original French title is Mille Filles, which translates literally as A Thousand Girls, but it may also be a pun on the famous French cake, mille-feuille, which is made up of many layers of pastry. The work makes a clear allusion to the bizarre paintings of the 16th-century Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526/27-93, Italy), who composed paintings of human anatomy out of organic matter such as vegetables and fruit.
Fascinated by the work of the Surrealists, Bellmer moved from his native Poland to Paris in 1938 where he became a leading figure in the group. He is best known for his disturbing, erotically charged constructions made out of the disembodied parts of children’s dolls."

Phaidon (1996) The 20th Century Art Book. London: Phaidon – P38

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