Hans Bellmer

Peter Webb, Author Quartet Books (UK) $0 (300p) ISBN 978-0-7043-2437-4
Bellmer is considered a major Surrealist and erotic artist in France and Germany, yet there has not been a full-scale exhibition of his work in the U.S. or Great Britain, and Webb's definitive and intimate critical biography is the first English-language volume that does not derive from a translation. Bellmer's drawings and paintings obsessively explored sexual repressions, fears and desires. Born in a German mining town, he fled the Nazis in the 1930s and settled in France, where he was welcomed by the Surrealists. Despite poverty and isolation, he collaborated with Ernst, Cocteau and Tzara. His jarring Doll photographs of the 1930s, coolly sensuous erotic sculptures, phantasmagorias of bodies and hallucinatory genitals, still have the power to shock and to confront us with subconscious fantasies. In the postwar period, Bellmer had trouble finding an audience in Roman Catholic France. Today his work seems as controversial and zesty as ever, and frequently disturbing in its anatomical portrayals, its merger of love and cruelty, sex and death. January 9
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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