A delicate and evocative image from Toyen’s later career, this time using the drypoint technique on pale green paper.
In the elaborate mirror with leaf motifs we see the reflection of an ethereal beauty from a bygone age, with her eyes closed, suggestive of sleeping and dreaming. In the background to the immediate left is the silhouette of a man that effects a visual rhyme with the girl’s face. Is she dreaming of the man, or is the shadow another aspect of her personality, her animus? As always with Toyen the more you look, the greater the sense of mystery is affected.
This stunning photograph of a serene beauty fully captures the belief in the transcendence of dreaming that all Surrealists shared . At first glance she appears to be underwater, after a quick double take it is apparent that she is rather soaring through the clouds. Or could it be that she is in fact laid out on a morgue table? But no, she is sleeping (we can be relatively sure as one can be in dealing with the Surreal), however that covers any reality you care to choose.
J.A Boiffard was Man Ray’s assistant from 1924 to 1929. His Parisian photographs were chosen to illustrate Andre Breton’s Nadja. However after his expulsion from the Surrealists, Boiffard contributed to Un Cadavre, a pamphlet that in no uncertain terms castigated Breton and his leadership of the movement. Boiffard then allied himself with the renegade Surrealists grouped around Georges Bataille and was the in-house photographer for Bataille’s Documents. His photographs illustrating Bataille’s article Big Toe are disturbing in an most uncanny way.
Unlike Man Ray witty use of Magritte painting ‘I do not see the (Woman) hidden in the forest’ in his photograph as a visual clue to what dreams are made of, Roland Penrose simply captures the moment that the four sitters (Lee Miller, Leonora Carrington, Nusch Eluard and Aby Fidelin) have fallen under an enchantment and into a shared reverie. The inevitable conclusion is that the dreams of women remain inaccessible.