Hans Bellmer La Bouche, 1936
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Photograph with hand coloring, tipped into the 1976 exhibition brochure, Galerie François Petit, Paris, publisher. Ca. 1936, stamped 11 (there were 60 numbered copies and 2000 other copies of the brochure) and with the artist's blindstamp to the photographic paper. Image 6.3 x 6.4 inches (16.2 x 16.4 cm.); brochure 9.8 x 8.25 inches (25.1 x 21 cm.).
In his nightmarish tableaux of mutilated and reassembled dolls posed in domestic interiors, Bellmer grappled with the base condition of the human body and with the bodily fragment as fetish object. Mannequins and dolls—simultaneously familiar and strange—supplied the material for his primal expressions of terror and awe, which often evoked the innocent violence and latent sexuality of childhood games. Whether they are read as Freudian emblems of the uncanny or as ominous harbingers of Nazi atrocities, Bellmer’s images exemplify the Surrealist view of the female body as the source of simultaneous fascination and revulsion.