Thursday, October 19, 2006

The birth of the surreal

As spring 1896 moved on to summer, Johann Dieter Wassmann continued work on his seminal 33-piece “Der Ring des Nibelunge” (Ring Cycle – please see my previous post for background). During this period the tone of the works turned increasingly playful, covering a range of interests, until a sudden shift arrived with autumn, his final 11 works in the series reaching a dark and deeply introspective spatial void, which I will discuss in my next post. Prior to the void, however, came “The Heavens”, shown above, in which a bird’s nest sprouts not baby birds, but five doll's legs in yet another nod to the Dadaists and Surrealists to come. As cheerful as it is perverse, it brings to mind the eerie 1930s constructions of Hans Bellmer.

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