Harper’s Bazaar (March, 1940) A.M. Cassandre
Fashion that was really edgy! Here we behold the business of exciting beauty coming up against the shadows of death-dealing military forces. Staying cool in face of the horror of the imminent Nazi Occupation, Cassandre’s floral beauty is about devising a livable drama amidst poison, and as such it kicks Surrealist reverie up several notches.
Blue Velvet (1986) Anonymous; 21 ¾” x 14 ½”
Movie posters are often blessed with subject matter that chills the blood! The photographic format here rewards us with the weight of the figure’s dilemma in human rather than merely sensational terms.
St Germain Delice de Sureau (2007)Anonymous;45” x 32”
Thrilling, yes. But where is the danger? This vintage photo (or staged-to-look-vintage-photo) exudes, over and above the funkiness of the product, an aura of death from out of picturesque recklessness.
Melancholia/Kirsten Dunst (2011)Anonymous;40 ½” x 28 ½”
It doesn’t get much more dangerous than having a death-star ring down the curtain on planet Earth. This Japanese composition manages to bring to bear the subtlety of a production that lesser designers would have overlooked.
Mode Avantgarde Magazine (1979) Beaye Bromse;31″ x 23″
Did it come from outer space, or inner space? Is this an alien to the max, or an alien very much amongst us?
This inspired graphic has done its utmost to rise to the drama of Jean Cocteau’s iconic film. The riskiness of such a pairing as this is palpable. But also there is the excitement of mutual discovery streaming out toward a new world. The composition and color here brilliantly allude to these figures as suspended amidst distant galaxies.
Peau d’Ane /Donkey Skin (1970) Jim Leon;62″ x 45 1/2″
Though a less accomplished design than that for Beauty and the Beast, this work does help confirm the long shadows of Surrealism as a major dramatizing factor in graphic art. Looming out of the spray of superimposed images, there is a young woman disconcertingly covered with a donkey skin, in exile from a cruelly thoughtless father who is the ruler of that territory. The mountain of jangling energies depicted here emits not merely an escape saga, but an uncanny world from which one may run but from which one cannot hide,