Thursday, 2 February 2012

Exhumed Artists ~ Max Ernst

Max Ernst [1891 – 1976], a German artist once mocked by Hitler and Goebbels in the 'Denigrate art exhibition' preceding the second world war, actually began painting as an expressionist; but after being drafted to serve as a soldier in the infamous trenches of WW1 where he was drafted in 1914....he became deeply effected by the tragedy and stupidity he witnessed there and following the end of that war in 1918 he became a very important founding member of the new Dada movement and later the more refined surrealist movement under the guidance of Andre Breton.

His paintings and sculptures are deeply powerful to both for their aesthetic beauty and for their hidden symbolism and meanings. 'The Robbing of the bride' a very famous work and 'effecting' work was painted in 1939 as an oil on wood. Painted at his studio in saint-Martin d'Ardeche in Northern France as Germany was invading the references his earlier work from, what is termed a graphic novel or picture book, he titled 'une semaine de bonte' (or a week of kindness). In this book he took images from the Victorian period and cut them up and re-pasted them together in a subversive way. And so in the robbing of the bride' Ernst portrays a reconstructed scene....a wedding in a ritualistic manner. The painting has much symbolism and referencing to the Nazi invaders of France and the bird like figure is more reminiscent of a storm trooper and barbarian possessively guarding its French prize. The mirror on the wall behind reflects the dangers of the alliance to the bride and what is about to happen and is typical of Max Ernst's eternal political consciousness.


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