Tuesday, 27 October 2015

What If? Metropolis Research - Hans Bellmer (1902-75, Germany):

Photography, painting, sculpture:

Main tagline - known for life-size pubescent female dolls, produced in mid-1930s, Surrealist artist (Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, etc.) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Bellmer

Draughtsman, painter, constructor of dolls, etcher, lithographer and writer, deeply involved with erotic fantasy. Obliged by his father to study engineering at the Berlin Polytechnic 1922-24, but became friendly with the painters George Grosz [Germany] and Otto Dix [Germany]. Abandoned his studies and began to work as typographer and book-binder, then as industrial draughtsman in an advertising agency.
Gave up all activity useful to the State after the rise to power of the Nazis in 1933 and began to construct 'artificial girls'; published Die Puppe 1934. Fled to Paris in 1938, in contact with the Surrealists. Drawings and paintings full of erotic variations on the female body, including illustrations for the poems of Georges Hugnet [France]. 
Lived in the Midi 1942-46, where he had his first one-man exhibition at the Librairie Silvio Trentin, Toulouse, in 1944, then returned to Paris. Published Les Jeux de la Poupee [1949], L'Anatomie de l'Image [1957]. Major retrospective exhibition at the Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Paris, 1971-196072. Died in Paris.

First impressions when observing Bellmer's outrageous work and artist's background: blow-up dolls, fetishism, exaggerating body organs, buildings made out of female body parts, 1960s sexual revolution (ahead of his time?), 1960s sexual cinema (Blowup, The Graduate, Last Tango in Paris, etc.), sexualisation in manga, interacting with virtual sexual women, pornography, fat cartoon ladies, Manic Street Preachers album cover (Jenny Saville), Lucien Freud life paintings, Michelangelo life studies and statues of women, slimy body parts (e.g. H.R. Geiger & Alien), Egon Schiele crouched postures, baby statue in Spain pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai, Body Pavilion at Millennium Dome, Anthony Gormley's Angel of the North, image-searching examples of body/human architecture:

Future reference:
  • Browsing 20th Century Art Book (Phaidon), exploring other artists experimenting/playing around with sexualising female bodies (intentional or not): Archipenko, Bacon, Boccioni, Bonard, Delauney, Dix, Fischl, Freud, Gargallo, Hanson, Hayter, Knizak, Kollwitz, Laurencin, Phalle, Schiele, Sherman, Sickert, Spencer, Wilke
  • The Art Book (Phaidon) - Archipenko, Bellini, Bronzino, Cassatt, Epstein, Gaudier-Brzeska, Laurencin, Moore, Richter, Schiele, Sherman
  • Look at life drawing studies featured in Michael Mattesi (Force Character) and Richard Williams (Animator's Survival Kit)

1 comment:

  1. Good start Robin! Don't lose momentum :)

    Although it's great that you are looking at Bellmer in the context of other surrealist painters etc., make sure that you don't get bogged down with other artists - remember who your collaborator is :)