Francis Picabia, 1929, Catax
Jean Tinguely, 1961, Baluba
From the Museum Tinguely:
In his “Balubas”, executed from autumn 1961 to spring 1963, Tinguely lets a vast abundance of the detritus of civilisation and consumer rubbish perform a wild and provocative dance. Alongside pieces of iron and wire, there are plastic fragments, brightly coloured feathers, rubber bands, furs, toys - banal everyday objects that Tinguely puts together into fragile assemblages. The juxtaposition of numerous individual pieces that were never meant to go together generates a bizarre and irritating effect.
Starting in October 1960, Jean Tinguely lived with artist Niki de Saint Phalle in his studio on Impasse Ronsin. Inspired by her work, he integrated coloured feathers into the “Balubas” that give them an exuberant, high-spirited air. The improvisational look of the structure of iron wire, which is twisted together in only a few places and is hastily taped in others, gives the impression of a rapid and intuitive work process. Some “Balubas” possess a fragile equilibrium and look as though Tinguely had quickly sketched them in space.
Christian Schad, 1927, Self-Portrait
From the Tate:
Schad’s Self-Portrait is a study of thinly-veiled display. The artist’s transparent shirt reveals his chest. He is positioned in front of the woman, but only partially conceals her nakedness. A diaphanous curtain separates them from the city. Schad’s precise realism is loaded with symbolism. A narcissus, indicating vanity, leans towards the artist. The woman’s face is scarred with a freggio, inflicted on Neapolitan women by their lovers to make them unattractive to others. It is a startling emblem of the potential violence underlying male possession of the female body.
Max Ernst, 1923-24, Woman, Old Man and Flower
Salvador Dali, 1959, Paysage aux Papillons
Jean Arp, 1922-23, Untitled
Francis Picabia, 1922, La Nuit Espagnole
Francis Picabia, c.1929, Hera
Celebes by Max Ernst, 1921
From the Tate: The central rotund shape in this painting derives from a photograph of a Sudanese corn-bin, which Ernst has transformed into a sinister mechanical monster. Ernst often re-used found images, and either added or removed elements in order to create new realities, all the more disturbing for being drawn from the known world. The work’s title comes from a childish German rhyme that begins: ‘The elephant from Celebes has sticky, yellow bottom grease¿’ The painting’s inexplicable juxtapositions, such as the enigmatic headless female figure and the elephant-like creature, suggest the imagery of a dream and the Freudian technique of free association.
Star Dancer on a Transatlantic Steamer by Francis Picabia, 1913
Son of Man by Rene Magritte, 1964
Considering this is such a recognised piece of modern art, I’d bet my bottom dollar that most people don’t know a lot about Son of Man by the Belgian Surrealist Rene Magritte, including myself until this research, ( I didn’t even notice the way the figure’s left arm seems to unnaturally bend backwards at its elbow). According to Magritte, the piece shows the human instinct to find what it hidden, even if the action is futile. See how the apple covers the face of the figure (which was supposedly a self portrait), and yet the eyes poke out above the top of the fruit. This creates a frustration in our inability to see the face, even though we’ll see thousands of faces in our lifetime. The rest of the painting becomes almost irrelevant purely for the fact that something has been hidden from our sight.
Portrait (Dulcinea) by Marcel Duchamp, 1911
Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, 1917
Golconda by Rene Magritte, 1953
Machine Turns by Francis Picabia, 1916. Picabia was a French artist working primarily within the Dada and Surrealist movements. His work frequently looks into the mechanics of relationships and the processes between men and women: see how the cogs in Machine Turns are labelled ‘femme’ and ‘home’, or man and woman. Even though the male cog is far larger than the female one, one cannot turn without the other one first.