Friday, October 26, 2012

Dorothea Tanning: Eine Kleine...

See above for Dorothea Tanning's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik 1943 in the collection of Tate. This painting was mentioned by visiting artist Gray Lyons during her talk on Friday afternoon. Thanks, Gray

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is one of the best known of Dorothea Tanning’s early paintings. It shows what appears to be a hotel corridor with numbered doors, the farthest of which is open just enough to offer a glimpse of incandescent light. A giant sunflower and pieces of its torn stem lie on the landing. Two fallen petals lie further down the stairs and a third is held by a doll propped against one of the doorways. The doll is remarkably life-like and wears similar clothing to the girl standing nearby. Her status as a toy is only revealed by her hairline and the regularly moulded contours of her torso. The tattered state of the clothes worn by both the doll and the girl suggests that there has been some sort of struggle or encounter with powerful forces, and the girl’s long hair streams upwards as if blasted by an immensely powerful gust of wind. Tanning has said: ‘It’s about confrontation. Everyone believes he/she is his/her drama. While they don’t always have giant sunflowers (most aggressive of flowers) to contend with, there are always stairways, hallways, even very private theatres where the suffocations and the finalities are being played out, the blood red carpet or cruel yellows, the attacker, the delighted victim....’ (Letter to the author, 1999)  More info here.

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