Chance Encounters 2

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Victor Brauner -Self Portrait with Eye Extract 1931
If Oscar Dominguez premonitory self portrait of his suicide can be rationalized as the result of  a long standing death wish, Victor Brauner arresting and prophetic Self Portait with Eye Extract from 1931 is rather harder to explain.

During the early thirties the Surrealist Victor Brauner was obsessed by mutilated eyes. Painting after painting sees plucked eyeballs, detached eyes lost in threatening landscapes, horns growing of eye sockets. When asked why he kept painting eyes he answered that he had no idea why he painted the way he did.

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Victor Brauner -Meditearrean Landscape 1932
In 1938 at a studio party while trying to separate a brawling Oscar Dominguez and Esteban Francis, Brauner was accidentally struck in the face by a bottle thrown by Dominguez. It cost Brauner his left eye, just as he had foreseen many times in his painting. The Mediterranean Landscape from 1932 is even more chilling in its anticipation of future events, the central figure’s left eye is pierced by an instrument with the letter D, Dominguez’s initial, on the handle.

Brauner wasn’t the only Surrealist obsessed with eyes. As well the infamous eye ball slicing scene at the start of Un Chien Andalou there is Georges Bataille transgressive classic Story of the Eye.

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44 thoughts on “Chance Encounters 2

    1. Good question, it is extraordinary that Brauner should have painted those pictures and that he ended up blinded in one eye. Coindence ? I have written stories which then kind of played out in real life, I am careful what I write these days.

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      1. One is… though it was kind of a reverse, the other one was a projected novel where one of the characters suffers spinal injuries and is on a regime of pain-killers, though the cause of the injury is different. Life frequently imitates art.

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      2. Not literally?? Cake, I had already read this post when you first put it up. I’ve just re-read it again with a ‘new set of eyes’. Hmmm. I never know when reading your posts…or anyone else’s for that matter, how much is completely made up and how much is truth. I’m still wondering after reading The Return. I am sorry to learn that you have had an injury that requires(d) you on a pain med regime. I hope one day you will be well enough to stop. Thank you for sharing a bit more of yourself Cake.

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      3. Of course your blog is not a confessional Cake! Truly…how uncivilized to air one’s private, personal affairs in a public forum. Decorum is so often misplaced these days… Not by you though Cake. You have my respect for that alone.

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      4. Hmmm are you being sarcastic? I didn’t fully realise that blogs are meant to be personal until I started. Also I really not all that interesting, apart from my knowledge of various artists.

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  1. I have to be completely honest, Victor Brauner’s self-portrait is unnerving, I find it’s even hard to look at without wincing. Even stranger, “he had no idea why”. This is a marvelous post, revealing a rather surreal look at future events. Well done Mr. Cake, as always. ~ Miss Cranes

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      1. I don’t want to add to your susceptibilities, you are however in step with the truth, both the force of nature and the universe. Perhaps they’re one in the same. Better to know it, than to be surprised by it. I hope you feel liberated.

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  2. Excellent, Mr. Cake. I’m really impressed by what your blog’s grown into. It’s gotten huge. I always knew it would with your consistently interesting content. I have personally gotten very bad at keeping up with social media, so I’m sorry to have been neglecting your posts! Great work 🙂

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  3. Interesting: in some Mexican myths they eye is detached from the socket without the visual chords being cut. This is the all=seeing mystical eye that can see the past and the future. Clearly the mutilated eye might be trapped in a painful present. I refer to the Chien Andalou (Garcia Lorca according to some critics) in some of my poems. It never ceases to send shivers through me. Another great post.

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    1. This is interesting. Is this limited to Mexicans myths or was it widespread across Mesoamerica? I take it they were Pre-Colombian in origin. Lorca himself was convinced that Un Chien Andalou was in reference to himself and it led to a falling out between himself Bunuel and Dali (though I believe Bunuel and Lorca was somewhat reconciled before his death, Dali was being Dali). Bunuel in his autobiography Lorca was the best person he ever meet, but has a low opinion of his plays. A post about the movie to follow.

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      1. Meso-Ameica, in all probability, as many beliefs were held in common. Lots of “gay theory” about the relationship between Lorca and Dali. And yes, Lorca thought he was “le chien andalou”. Lorca’s plays tend to be on stage poetry and it might be easy to see them from a different point of view and dismiss them. That said, he ran a travelling theatre show and was very much aware of how to ‘shock and awe’ on the theatre circuit. I look forward to the chien andalou review.

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  4. The loss of one eye would affect depth perception – an interesting situation for a Surrealist to find one’s self in. Sizes, positions of objects would be ‘off’ for lack of a better term. The premonitory nature of the painting(s) is unsettling, to say the least. I would hate to think that I’d inadvertently write my future. As always, a fascinating post.

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