The Surrealists' fascination with dolls and machines that resembled humans is especially evident in the work of Hans Bellmer (1902-1975), the subject of this comprehensive monograph. Rejecting the Nazis' Aryan ideals, the artist spent the years after 1933 creating disturbing dolls out of wax, wood, flax, plaster and glue--equipped with wigs and glass eyes. Photographs of these fetishistic simulacra were published in Minotaure, the Surrealists' magazine, and eagerly supported by members of Andre Breton's circle. After immigrating to Paris, Bellmer continued to develop his erotic obsessions through his art, now influenced by the writings of the Marquis de Sade and Georges Bataille, and began to collaborate with his companion, the German artist Unica Zurn. Deeply involved in Freudian discourse, his drawings, lithographs and photographs investigate psychoanalytic theories around hysteria and transference and reveal a singular exploration into the relationship between language and the body.
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Hans Bellmer was born in Katowice, Germany, in 1902 and fled the Third Reich in 1938. He spent the second half of his life in Paris, where he died in 1975. His work is in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the Tate Gallery, London, among many others.
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