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Greta Stroeh

[Jean] (Peter Wilhelm)

(b Strassburg, Germany [now Strasbourg, France], Sept 16, 1886; d Basle, Switzerland, June 7, 1966).

French sculptor, painter, collagist, printmaker, and poet of German birth. The son of a German father and French Alsatian mother, he developed a cosmopolitan outlook from an early age and as a mature artist maintained close contact with the avant-garde throughout Europe. He was a pioneer of abstract art and one of the founders of Dada in Zurich, but he also participated actively in both Surrealism and Constructivism. While he prefigured junk art and the Fluxus movement in his incorporation of waste material, it was through his investigation of biomorphism and of chance and accident that he proved especially influential on later 20th-century art in liberating unconscious creative forces.

Following a brief period at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Strasbourg (1900–01), Arp received instruction from 1901 from a friend and neighbour, the painter and printmaker Georges Ritleng (1875–1972). He then attended the Kunstschule in Weimar (1904–7) and the Académie Julian in Paris (...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Vila Nova de Gaia, Jan 17, 1923; d 2002).

Portuguese painter, graphic artist, critic and art administrator . In 1947 he was a founder-member of the Grupo Surrealista de Lisboa, with which he exhibited in 1949. By 1952 he was one of the few remaining members of the original group still involved in Surrealism. That year he held a large exhibition with two other artists, showing Occultations, photographs in which parts of the images were masked by overpainting. At the time he was more interested in the process of image-making, in the unconscious genesis of images and their internal rhythms, than in the result as an aesthetic object. From the mid-1950s, Azevedo’s paintings were almost entirely abstract and gestural, with greater overt affinities to lyrical abstraction than to automatism, for example Painting (1961; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). While in smaller works he often returned to the Surrealist use of collaged photographs introducing an element of shock or surprise, in his paintings there is an overriding interest in morphological dissolution and mutation, which remains lyrical rather than violent....

Article

Bio Art  

Suzanne Anker

From Anatomical studies to landscape painting to the Biomorphism of Surrealism, the biological realm historically provided a significant resource for numerous artists. More recently, Bio Art became a term referring to intersecting domains that comprise advances in the biological sciences and their incorporation into the plastic arts. Of particular importance in works of Bio Art is to summon awareness of the ways in which the accelerating biomedical sciences alter social, ethical and cultural values in society.

Coming to the fore in the early 1990s Bio Art is neither media specific nor locally bounded. It is an international movement with practitioners in such regions as Europe, the US, Russia, Australia and the Americas. Several subgenres of Bio Art exist within this overarching term:

(i) Artists who employ the iconography of the 20th and 21st century sciences, including molecular and cellular genetics, transgenically altered living matter and reproductive technologies as well as the diverse fields of neuroscience. All traditional media such as painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and drawing are employed to convey novel ways of representing life forms. Images of chromosomes, the double helix, magnetic resonance imaging body scans and neuroanatomy comprise this iconography. The molecular underpinnings of the living world have also become visible through high technological instrumentation when artists incorporate such pictorialisations as part of their practice. Representations span both genotypic variations and phenotypic ones. Artists include Suzanne Anker (...

Article

Louisa Buck

(b London, Oct 14, 1900; d Chiddingly, E. Sussex, April 23, 1984).

English patron, poet, painter, sculptor and collagist. After completing his BA at Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 1922, he worked as a painter in France from 1922 to 1935 and through Max Ernst became closely involved with the Surrealist group in Paris. On his return to England, he established the British Surrealist Group and in 1936 organized the first International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in London, which provided Britain’s first full-scale exposure to the movement. He took part in most of the group’s activities and was secretary and treasurer of its showcase, the London Gallery, as well as co-editor of its publication, the London Gallery Bulletin.

Penrose began collecting art in the early 1930s and in 1938 bought Paul Eluard’s collection of Surrealist, African and other art. This included 40 major works by Max Ernst, including the Elephant Celebes (1921; London, Tate), several paintings by Giorgio De Chirico, most notably the ...

Article

Daniela Mrázková

(b Čermná, Aug 11, 1899; d Prague, March 21, 1942).

Czech painter, collagist and photographer. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and was a member of the avant-garde group Devětsil (founded 1920). He collaborated with the painter Toyen and became a leading personality in the Czech Surrealist group, which emerged in 1934. At the first Surrealist exhibition in Prague in 1935 he exhibited, besides his paintings, designs and collages, two photographic series, Frog Man and Man with Blinkers. Štyrský used photography only from 1934 to 1938, and he produced ‘pictorial poems’—collages composed of photographic fragments—as well as photographs of mundane objects removed from their surroundings. In 1941 he published illegally, with the poet Jindřich Heisler, a small book, Na jehlách těchto dnů, which included photographic sequences and verse and constituted a fierce condemnation of Hitler’s dictatorship.

Štyrský, Jindřich with J. Heisler: Na jehlách těchto dnů [Living on tenterhooks] (1941) A. Moussu: Jindřich Štyrský: Fotografické dílo...

Article

(b Malmö, Feb 20, 1912; d 1994).

Swedish painter and collagist. After taking lessons in decorative art at the Tekniska Skola in Malmö, from 1931 to 1932 he attended the Skanska Malerskola in Malmö. He failed to get into the Konstakademi in Stockholm and so went to the painting school run by Otte Sköld. In his work of the 1930s he experimented with various styles including Cubism. He also produced numerous fantastic works of grotesque human and animal metamorphoses that were influenced by Surrealism, for example Under the Wings of Paradise (pen-and-ink drawing, 1935; see 1979 exh. cat., p. 50). In the late 1930s he started to produce collages, such as Up-to-date Satire (1938; see 1979 exh. cat., p. 56), in which he used erotic imagery in an associative Surrealist manner. In 1943 Svanberg was a founder-member of the short-lived Surrealist Minotaurgruppen, and in 1945 he had his first one-man show, at the Gummesons Konstgalleri in Stockholm. Around ...

Article

Karel Srp

(b Prague, Dec 13, 1900; d Prague, Oct 1, 1951).

Bohemian critic, theorist, collagist and typographer. He was one of the founders of Devětsil (1920–31) and was the spokesman and theorist of the Czechoslovak Surrealist group (1934–51), inviting André Breton and Paul Eluard to Prague in 1935. His early works were influenced by Cubism. During the 1920s and 1930s he was an enthusiastic typographer, while in the 1940s he devoted himself primarily to making Surrealist collages, concentrating in particular on the female nude. As a theorist he was active from 1920, becoming the spokesman of his generation and its main interpreter, editing the journals Disk (1923, 1925) and ReD (Revue Devětsilu; 1927–31). At first interested in utopian prototypes, he developed an interest in Constructivism after a visit to Paris in 1923. In the late 1920s he became an internationally acknowledged theorist of modern architecture. He delivered a cycle of lectures at the Bauhaus on the sociology of architecture (...

Article

Lajos Németh

(b Zalaegerszeg, Aug 1908; d Budakeszi, Sept 7, 1941).

Hungarian painter, draughtsman, collagist and printmaker. He studied in 1927–30 at the Art School in Budapest under István Csók. At this stage he was committed to Constructivism, left-wing political ideas and the Munka-kört (workers’ circle), run by Lajos Kassák. From 1930 to 1934 he lived in Paris, where Cubism and Surrealism impressed him, but his greatest interest was Soviet avant-garde film, which influenced the politically committed Surrealist simultaneous photomontages that he made in Paris. In 1935–6 he worked in the Szentendre colony, near Budapest, and in Szigetmonostor with Dezső Korniss: the artistic programme they worked out there was a visual version of Béla Bartók’s musical theory. Through the painterly transformation of the material and spiritual remnants of peasant culture, Vajda wanted to construct a modern art style that reconciled the icons of eastern European art with the western avant-garde. Using elements of Constructivism and Surrealism, and building on the principle of simultaneity, he made drawings and coloured collages using forms drawn from Serbian Orthodox Church traditions and modern trends. In ...