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Article

Horacio Safons

(b Federal, Entre Ríos, Aug 22, 1928; d Buenos Aires, Feb 19, 1996).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. He studied under Juan Batlle Planas from 1950 to 1953 and quickly established the terms of his work, rooted ideologically in Surrealism and indebted in particular to the work of René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico. All the elements of his mature art are evident in an early painting, Burning of the Hasidic School in Minsk in 1713 (1954; artist’s col.): architecture, space, light and ordered series. He developed an essentially intellectual approach, working in a variety of media (paintings, drawings, gouaches and collages) in rigorous sequences and picturing objects in cold impersonal light that confers on them a sense of distant majesty. The most common motif is that of a geometric, almost abstract structure, often in the form of a tower pierced by rows of large plain windows. Aizenberg’s work, while far removed from the Surrealist presumption of achieving a synthesis of wakefulness and dream, acquires its strength through the ordering of the unreal and the strange in the search for a transcendent essence capable of perturbing and jolting the viewer by bringing into play the archetypes of silence and solitude....

Article

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

(b Paris, July 11, 1906; d Paris, June 1974).

French writer and collagist. He spent his childhood in Argentina, moving to Paris at the age of 16. He greatly admired Dada, which was by then largely exhausted in Paris. In 1928 he collaborated with Henri d’Arche on the film La Perle and soon after became involved in Surrealism, joining the group in 1930. He met many of its members, including André Breton, Paul Eluard, Miró and Yves Tanguy, who regularly gathered at his bookshop in the Boulevard Montparnasse. He was mainly occupied as a poet and writer, though he also took part in other Surrealist activities such as producing collages. He participated in the Surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Pierre Colle in Paris (1933) and also in the International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries, London (1936). During his association with Surrealism, Hugnet became one of the movement’s chief apologists. He contributed articles to the catalogue of the ...

Article

Karel Srp

(b Protivín, Sept 24, 1914; d Prague, Aug 11, 2002).

Czech collagist and poet, active in France. He had a considerable influence on Czech art from the 1940s until the early 1970s and was the main representative of the association of artists known as Group 42. The principal features of his aesthetic ideas are the mythology of urban life and the discovery of the miraculous in the commonplace. He was already at work on collage in 1939 when he exhibited at the Prague Mozart Collection, and he returned to collage in the late 1950s, partly as a result of his interest in Concrete and serial art. He worked out a method of constructing poem-collages based on linking completely different texts, then transferred his experimental efforts to the purely visual sphere, calling his first realization ‘non-verbal poetry’. At first he created collages from glued, randomly juxtaposed objects, including everyday objects that particularly interested him. His most important innovation was, however, his use of reproductions of outstanding paintings and sculptures, making them into numerous and varied formal combinations. By the 1990s he had worked out more than a hundred different collage processes, from which further methods could be derived. He experimented with metalanguage art, with the continuous reassessment of new values and the rediscovery of old values. His creative ideas have helped to bring collage, which before World War II was primarily linked with Cubism and Surrealism, to a new level of expression....

Article

(b Antwerp, April 29, 1920; d Brussels, Sept 19, 1993).

Belgian writer, painter, collagist, draughtsman and sculptor. He left school at the age of 14 and in 1937 met Magritte, and the Belgian writers Louis Scutenaire (1905–87) and Paul Nougé (1895–1967), through whom he soon became drawn into the Surrealist movement. Though largely involved with writing poetry and essays, like many Surrealists he also produced collages, such as La Traversée du rêve (1938–45; Paris, Gal. Isy Brachot). Also in 1937 he participated in his first Surrealist exhibition, Surrealist Objects and Poems, organized by E. L. T. Mesens at the London Gallery in London. From 1940 to 1941 he was held prisoner in Germany. On his return to Belgium he founded the publishing house L’Aiguille Aimantée, which issued Paul Eluard’s Moralité du sommeil in 1941. In 1943 he published the first monograph on Magritte and two years later took part in the important exhibition of Belgian Surrealism at the Galerie La Boëtie in Brussels. In ...

Article

(b Brussels, Nov 27, 1903; d Brussels, May 13, 1971).

Belgian writer, exhibition organizer, collagist and composer. As a young composer he was influenced by Erik Satie. He collaborated on Dadaist-inspired journals and published, with René Magritte, Œsophage (1925), the only issue of which, containing the poems of Hans Arp, Tristan Tzara and Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, remained faithful to the Dada spirit. In 1926 Marie, a ‘journal bi-mensuel pour la belle jeunesse’, published under his direction, pursued the same vein; it only had two issues. Mesens was involved in the establishment of a Surrealist movement (see Surrealism), which was strongly permeated with Dadaism in Belgium. In 1927 he became Director of the Galerie L’Epoque and in 1931 of the Galerie Mesens, both in Brussels. Miró, Magritte and Max Ernst all exhibited with him. He founded the Editions Nicolas Flamel, which published the Surrealists’ collective homage to a parricide, Violette Nozières (Brussels, 1933), André Breton’s lecture ‘Qu’est-ce que le surréalisme’, held on the occasion of the first international Surrealist exhibition organized in Brussels by Mesens under the auspices of ...

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 ...

Article

Yasuyoshi Saito

(b Tokushima Prefect., Oct 8, 1919; d Kanagawa Prefect., Nov 23, 1986).

Japanese painter, printmaker, teacher and collagist . In 1937 he graduated from the Kagawa Prefectural Technical School, and the following year he went to Tokyo and studied at the Fukuzawa Institute for the Study of Painting, where be became fascinated by Surrealist painting. In 1939 his military service took him to China, where he served in the Sino-Japanese War (1937–45). His experiences of the atrocities of war deeply affected him, and he became vehemently anti-war. In 1946 he was involved in forming the Nihon Bijutsukai (Japan Art Society) and in 1947 he helped found the Zen’ei Bijutsukai (Avant-garde Art Society). In 1953 he took part in the first Nippon Ten (Japan exhibition), showing Tale of Akebono Village at Dawn (1953; priv. col., see exh. cat., p. 37), which portrayed with black humour an uprising of villagers protesting at repression.

Yamashita’s commitment to Surrealism became total, and he was determined to expose social injustices through his style of painting (e.g. ...