Unreal Nature

March 13, 2019

Its Construction

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:19 am

… Photos could capture the poignant contrast between the drawn blueprint, used as a piece of background décor, and the emergent Doll.

This is from Hans Bellmer by Peter Webb with Robert Short (1985):

… the surrealists showed no condescension towards Bellmer’s use of photography to record the life of his Doll. Many artists despised photography as a journeyman’s medium because of its mechanical nature. The surrealists valued it just because, like the cinema, it had yet to acquire its lettres de noblesse.

… The surrealists loved the photograph’s ability to fix a fugitive moment, to perform alchemical metamorphoses of light and shade, the real and the imaginary. In Nadja, Les Vases communicants and L’Amour fou, Breton used photos that were deliberately banal as circumstantial evidence to authenticate his accounts of the manifestations of the marvelous in everyday life.

[line break added] On the one hand, because ‘the camera can’t lie,’ it could be used to prove the reality of fantasy; on the other because of its power to select and distort, it offered access to the other side of the looking-glass. Breton and his friends saw that the intervention of Bellmer the photographer in the creations of Bellmer the sculptor and inventor of the Doll added a further dimension to his scabrous seductions: that of a perfectly conscious and organized voyeurism.

[line break added] They appreciated also the narrative function of the meaning of the 1934 Doll was in the story of its construction, in its metamorphosis from armature of wood and metal to the various arrangements of the fragments composing the fully fleshed sculpture. Photos could capture the poignant contrast between the drawn blueprint, used as a piece of background décor, and the emergent Doll.

My previous post from this book is here.

-Julie

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