Thursday, June 23, 2011

Denise Bellon (1902 - 1999)

As a photojournalist she wasn't as flashy as Lee Miller, she was more the journalist, less the Surrealist. Yet her photographs of the Surrealists & their undertakings are more geared towards the works themselves than to the nether region between the work & those enigmatic personalities. Where Lee Miller's photography seems like a balancing act between her allegiance to Breton & his art movement, Bellon's gaze is steady, less hagiographic, than Miller's. While she never achieved the volatile, high-wire balance between the political & the artistic that Miller managed so effortlessly, she captures ephemeral, "disposable" works in progress without inflating wildly inflatable egos. Through her lens, watching Dali assemble the Surrealist Funhouse & the Paris Exhibition of 1938 is set to scale, as if we're watching a teenager assemble a parade float. The artist places Maurice Henry's mannequins nervously, perhaps a bit worried as to whether unclothed mannequins crowned with bird cages will still have the power to shock, or transport, or even distract.

Henry Miller & Eve

Based on an illustration from Cocteau's book, Opium

Andre Breton & The Surrealist Group at the Gates of the Desert
Andre Breton & Group, Gates of the Desert
Marcel Duchamp
Paul Eluard

Simone de Beauvoir

Denise Bellon, Self-Portrait 1935

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