Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Collages by Max Ernst

Collages by Max Ernst
La femme 100 tetes (1929) 

In 1929 Max Ernst published the first of a series of collages in book form, with texts by Andre Breton. Although not the first to use collage, Ernst created a form that had a profound impact on modern art and created a dreamlike world of extraordinary suggestiveness.

Since the theme this month is the dream in art, I though you might like to be reminded of Ernst's contribution to this subject. 

Show me your suitcase, my dear...

"On a rainy day in 1919 and finding myself in a village on the Rhine, I was struck by the obsessive gaze forced upon me by the pages of an illustrated catalogue showing objects designed for anthropologic, microscopic, psychologic, mineralogic and palaeontologic demonstration."

 The same for the second....

"There I found brought together elements of figuration so remote that the sheer absurdity of that collection provoked a sudden intensification of the visionary faculties in me in me and brought forth an illusive succession of contradictory images, double, triple and multiple images, piling up on each other with the persistence and rapidity which are peculiar to love memories and visions of half sleep."
Max Ernst

The eye without eyes, the hundred-headless woman keeps her secret...

"With the collage accompanied by his commentary, Max Ernst at once achieved what he had been more or less confusedly searching for ever since the days of his romantic dreaming: the synthesis of the graphic and the poetic image."

Loplop and the mouse's horoscope

"By providing this demonstration that a work of art could dispense with the traditional techniques, and that the manual skill involved could be reduced to a simple game of patience, he also opened up tempting prospects to any artist in favour of the minimum of effort."
Patrick Waldberg

In the Paris basin Loplop, the superior of the birds, brings night-time nourishment to the lanterns

"Collage is the coupling of two realities, irreconcilable in appearance, upon a plane which
 apparently does not suit them."
Andre Breton

The unsuccessful Immaculate Conception

"Max borrows his elements principally from printed drawings, drawings for advertisements, dictionary illustrations, popular images, newspaper photographs."

Winter visitors on La Grande Jatte

"He blends them so skilfully into his pictures that sometimes one hardly suspects their presence - though there are at times, on the other hand, when the whole work seems to be a collage, so meticulously has the painter sought to establish a continuity between the alien elements and his work."

The scenery changes three times

"Collage is the marvellous faculty of reaching two distant realities, without leaving the field of our experience, and, at their conjunction, of drawing forth a spark."
Andre Breton

Mike Healey

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