Posts Tagged ‘max ernst’
Oil on wood, 96 x 130 cm
Venice, Peggy Guggenheim collection
JG Ballard: The Atrocity Exhibition (1970): Chapter Four: ‘You: Coma: Marilyn Monroe’:
At noon, when she woke, Tallis was sitting on the metal chair beside the bed, his shoulders pressed to the wall as if trying to place the greatest possible distance between himself and the sunlight waiting on the balcony like a trap. In the three days since their meeting at the beach planetarium he had done nothing but pace out the dimensions of the apartment, constructing some labyrinth from within. She sat up, aware of the absence of any sounds or movement in the apartment. He had brought with him an immense quiet. Through this glaciated silence the white walls of the apartment fixed arbitrary planes. She began to dress, aware of his eyes staring at her body.
Ballard’s annotation (1990):
The Robing of the Bride.
The title of one of Max Ernst’s most mysterious paintings. An unseen woman is being prepared by two attendants for her marriage, and is dressed in an immense gown of red plumage that transforms her into a beautiful and threatening bird. Behind her, as if in a mirror, is a fossilized version of herself, fashioned from archaic red coral. All my respect and admiration of women is prompted by this painting, which I last saw at Peggy Guggenheim’s museum in Venice, stared at by bored students. Leaving them, I strayed into a private corridor of the palazzo, and a maid emerging through a door with a vacuum cleaner gave me a glimpse into a bedroom overlooking the Grand Canal. Sitting rather sadly on the bed was Miss Guggenheim herself, sometime Alice at the surrealist tea-party, a former wife of Max Ernst, and by then an old woman. As she stared at the window I half-expected to see the bird costume on the floor beside her. She was certainly entitled to wear it.