Hans Bellmer – A Doll Day Feature

Today, August 2nd, is Doll Day and in realizing this I knew I had an interesting opportunity to talk about Hans Bellmer, an artist I recently came across while researching another post to come.

Bellmer was a surrealist photographer in the 1930s. In his work he almost only photographed life-sized dolls he built beginning in 1934 with the help of his wife. The dolls were made of wood and metal skeletons covered in plaster and paper mâché. His work is quite surreal, and also intriguing. It is believed that much of Bellmer’s work stems from his own childhood trauma. The images seem to reveal that pain.

I’ll admit, viewing many make me uncomfortable. This is because I empathize with the state of the doll in each image, and in a way, with the state of mind of the artist. This lends a lot of power to images of toys and dolls. We can see ourselves within these representations and experience emotion along with the inanimate objects.

I’ll leave the googling of other works, and theories up to you, but here I’ve chosen a couple that I find quite captivating.

See more surrealist figure work of this time period here.

Let me know what you think of this artist and his work, and separately, in the spirit of doll day, share all your memories of dolls in your life.

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