Os “Objectos Incongruentes” mais famosos de… Meret Oppenheim, Man Ray, Salvador Dali e Victor Brauner

© Meret Oppenheim -“Chávena e Prato em Pele “. 1936

© Meret Oppenheim -“Ma Governante”. 1967

© Man Ray -“O Pão Azul”. 1958

© Man Ray -“Prenda”. 1921

© Salvador Dali -“Telefone-Lagosta”. 1936

© Victor Brauner -“Mesa-Lobo”. 1947

Artistas Dadaístas e Surrealistas, dispostos a derrubar todas as convenções estabelecidas na arte e na sociedade, produziram nas décadas de 20, 30 e 40 do séc. XX, uma série de objectos desconcertantes que nos obrigam a pôr em causa também, o nosso modo de ver e de entender os objectos.

A arte materializada em objectos tornados “incómodos” pelas suas associações de formas e de significados…

Meret Oppenheim (1904-1989)

Born in Berlin in 1913,Oppenheim passed her childhood in Switzerland and southern Germany where her father, a doctor long interested in Jung’s ideas, had a country medical practice. Her aunt had at one time been married to Herman Hesse; her grandmother had studied painting in Dusseldorf in the 1880s and later became well known as a writer of novels and children’s stories and as an activist in the Swiss League for Women’s Rights. Oppenheim took the latter’s example to heart, decided at an early age not to marry at all or at least not until later in life, and began hiding a sketchbook inside her hymnal during long and tedious church services.

At sixteen, stimulated by an exhibition of Bauhaus work at the Basel Kunsthalle that included the number paintings of Paul Klee, she produced her first “surrealist” work, an equation between X and a drawing of a rabbit in a school notebook. She wouki later present this first Cahier d’une Ecoliere to the Surrealist leader, Andre Breton. Leaving school the following year, Oppenheim met some of the artists of the Neue Sachlichkeit and began making pen and ink watercolors, many of which have an air of expressive caricature not unlike that of Klee’s early etchings.

She arrived in Paris in May 1932, rented a room at the Hotel Odessa in Montparnasse, and enrolled briefly at the Academic de la Grande Chaumiere. Soon bored by the academic routine at the academy, she began to spend her days in galleries and cafes, writing her first poems in the Cafe du Dome where she met Giacomettiin 1933. Through him she met Sophie Taeuber and Hans Arp, Kurt Seligmannand Max Ernst . Giacometti and Arp became her first artistic mentors; Ernst and Man Ray her intimate companions.

Giacometti, who was earning a living making furniture and objects, encouraged her to make her first Surrealist object, a small piece titled Giacometti’s Ear (1933). He andArp invited her to exhibit with them at the Salon des Surindependents in 1933; after that she frequented Surrealist meetings and gatherings, increasingly identifying her life and her art with the movement.

Her youth and beauty, her free spirit and uninhibited behavior, her precarious walks on the ledges of high buildings, and the “surrealist” food she concocted from marzipan in her studio, all contributed to the creation of an image of the Surrealist woman as beautiful, independent, and creative. But this public persona was of little help, in fact was almost certainly a hindrance, in her search for artistic maturity. The objects that insured her place in subsequent histories of the movement offer flashes of brilliance rather than evidence of sustained artistic growth, and she was, even at that time, conflicted and uncertain about her life as an artist.

She had been named after the Meretlein or “Little Meret” of Gottfried Keller’s storyGreen Henry. Participated in Surrealist meetings and exhibitions until 1937 and again, more sporadically, after the war until shortly before Breton’s death in 1966.

Her fur-lined teacup, exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1937, was chosen by visitors to the exhibition as the quintessential Surrealist symbol. Oppenheim’s return to Basel in 1937 marked the beginning of an eighteen-year period of artistic crisis and redirection. In 1939 she took part in an exhibition of fantastic furniture with Leonor Fini, Max Ernst, and others at the Galerie Rene Druin and Leo Castelli in Paris.

A major retrospective of her work was organized by the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1967. For the latter part of her life, lived and worked in Berne and Paris.

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

Salvador Dali is considered as the greatest artist of the surrealist art movement and one of the greatest masters of art of the twentieth century. During his lifetime the public got a picture of an eccentric paranoid. His personality caused a lot of controversy. After his death in 1989 his name remained in the headlines. But this time it was not funny at all. The art market was shaken by reports of great numbers of fraudulent Dali prints. What’s all behind it?

Salvador Dali was born as the son of a prestigious notary in the small town of Figuera in Northern Spain. His talent as an artist showed at an early age and Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali received his first drawing lessons when he was ten years old. His art teachers were a then well known Spanish impressionist painter, Ramon Pichot and later an art professor at the Municipal Drawing School. In 1923 his father bought his son his first printing press. Dali began to study art at the Royal Academy of Art in Madrid. He was expelled twice and never took the final examinations. His opinion was that he was more qualified than those who should have examined him.

In 1928 Dali went to Paris where he met the Spanish painters Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. He established himself as the principal figure of a group of surrealist artists grouped around Andre Breton, who was something like the theoretical “schoolmaster” of surrealism. Years later Breton turned away from Dali accusing him of support of fascism, excessive self-presentation and financial greediness.

By 1929 Dali had found his personal style that should make him famous – the world of the unconscious that is recalled during our dreams. The surrealist theory is based on the theories of the psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud. Recurring images of burning giraffes and melting watches became the artist’s surrealist trademarks. His great craftsmanship allowed him to execute his paintings in a nearly photorealistic style. No wonder that the artist was a great admirer of the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael.

Meeting Gala was the most important event in the artist’s life and decisive for his future career. She was a Russian immigrant and ten years older than Dali. When he met her, she was married to the famous French poet, Paul Eluard. Gala decided to stay with Dali. She became his companion, his muse, his sexual partner, his model in numerous art works and his business manager. For him she was everything. Most of all Gala was a stabilizing factor in his life. And she managed his success in the 1930s with exhibitions in Europe and the United States.

In 1933 Salvador Dali had his first one-man show in New York. One year later he visited the U.S. for the first time supported by a loan of US$500 from Pablo Picasso. To evade World War II, Dali chose the U.S.A. as his permanent residence in 1940. He had a series of spectacular exhibitions, among others a great retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Besides creating a number of great paintings, Dali caused the attention of the media by playing the role of a surrealist clown. He made a lot of money and was contemptuously nicknamed Avida Dollars (greedy for dollars) by Andre Breton. Dali became the darling of the American High Society. Celebrities like Jack Warner or Helena Rubinstein gave him commissions for portraits. His art works became a popular trademark and besides painting he pursued other activities – jewelry and clothing designs for Coco Chanel or film making with Alfred Hitchcock.

In 1948 Dali and Gala returned to Europe, spending most of their time either in their residence in Lligat/Spain or in Paris/France or in New York. Dali developed a lively interest in science, religion and history. He integrated things into his art that he had picked up from popular science magazines. Another source of inspiration were the great classical masters of painting like Raphael, Velasquez or the French painter Ingres. The artist commented his shift in style with the words: “To be a surrealist forever is like spending your life painting nothing but eyes and noses.”

In 1958 the artist began his series of large sized history paintings. He painted one monumental painting every year during the summer months in Lligat. The most famous one, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, can be seen at the Dali Museum in St.Petersburg in Florida. It is breath-taking. The artist’s late art works combine more than ever his perfect and meticulous painting technique with his fantastic and limitless imaginations.

Man Ray (1890-1976)

Man Ray (a pseudonym adopted by the artist) was born on August 27, 1890, in Philadelphia, and moved to New York with his family seven years later. In New York he frequented Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery “291” in 1911 and attended classes at the Ferrer Center in 1912. In 1915 his first solo show was held at the Daniel Gallery, New York. About this time he took up photography, the medium for which he was to become best known. He entered into a lifelong friendship with Marcel Duchamp, with whom he and Walter Arensberg founded the Society of Independent Artists in 1916. With Duchamp, Katherine Dreier, Henry Hudson, and Andrew McLaren, Man Ray established the Société Anonyme, which he named, in 1920. Before the artist moved from New York to Paris in 1921, Man Ray and Duchamp published the single issue of New York Dada.

In Paris Man Ray was given a solo exhibition at the Librairie Six in 1921. His first Rayographs (photographic images produced without a camera) were published in Les Champs délicieux, rayographies in 1922, the year the artist participated in the Salon Dada at the Galerie Montaigne in Paris. With Jean Arp, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, André Masson, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso, he was represented in the first Surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Pierre in Paris in 1925. From 1923 to 1929 he made the films Le Retour à la raison, Emak Bakia, L’Etoile de mer, and Les Mystères du château de dé. In 1932 Man Ray’s work was included in Dada, 1916–1932 at the Galerie de l’Institut in Paris and in a Surrealist show at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. He collaborated with Paul Eluard on the books Facile in 1935 and Les Mains libres in 1937. In 1936 he went to New York on the occasion of the Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, in which his work appeared.

The artist left France in 1940, shortly before the German occupation, making his way to Hollywood and then to New York. In 1951 he returned to Paris, where he was given a solo show at the Galerie Berggruen. In 1959 a solo exhibition of Man Ray’s work was held at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. His autobiography Self Portrait was published in 1963. Ten years later the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York presented 125 of his photographic works. Man Ray died on November 18, 1976, in Paris.

Victor Brauner (1903-1966)

Victor Brauner was born on June 15, 1903, in Piatra-Neamt, Romania. His father was involved in spiritualism and sent Brauner to evangelical school in Braïla from 1916 to 1918. In 1921 he briefly attended the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, where he painted Cézannesque landscapes. He exhibited paintings in his subsequent expressionist style at his first solo show at the Galerie Mozart in Bucharest in 1924. Brauner helped found the Dadaist review 75 HP in Bucharest. He went to Paris in 1925 but returned to Bucharest approximately a year later. In Bucharest in 1929 Brauner was associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist review UNU.

Brauner settled in Paris in 1930 and became a friend of his compatriot Constantin Brancusi. Then he met Yves Tanguy, who introduced him to the Surrealists by 1933. André Breton wrote an enthusiastic introduction to the catalogue for Brauners first Parisian solo show at the Galerie Pierre in 1934. The exhibition was not well-received, and in 1935 Brauner returned to Bucharest, where he remained until 1938. That year he moved to Paris, lived briefly with Tanguy, and painted a number of works featuring distorted human figures with mutilated eyes. Some of these paintings, dated as early as 1931, proved gruesomely prophetic when he lost his own eye in a scuffle in 1938.

At the outset of World War II Brauner fled to the South of France, where he maintained contact with other Surrealists in Marseilles. Later he sought refuge in Switzerland; unable to obtain suitable materials there, he improvised an encaustic from candle wax and developed a graffito technique.

Brauner returned to Paris in 1945. He was included in the Exposition internationale du surréalisme at the Galerie Maeght in Paris in 1947. His postwar painting incorporated forms and symbols based on Tarot cards, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and antique Mexican codices. In the fifties Brauner traveled to Normandy and Italy, and his work was shown at the Venice Biennale in 1954 and in 1966. He died in Paris on March 12, 1966.