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Friday, 3 February 2012

Dorothea Tanning

I read this article this morning and thought I would mention  Dorothea Tanning as a visual artist that might be of interest. Also briefly mentioned in the article, Leonara Carrington, an english origin artist. Both artists worked with images that portrayed tendencies of 'surrealism' and depicted an interior narrative with fantastical elements. I am not sure it is a an easy vocabulary, but i think fir me both depict the female psyche, as opposed to Max Ernst, who I think had a more male oriented artistic vision (an argument that I would need to backup with evidence). Both artists got somewhat caught up in European conflict of the early 40"s and ended up in different places than they began, Tanning was mainly from the US. Both were involved with the artist Max Ernst. The article mentions a poem by Tanning, reproduced below from the article and originally published in 2004. I think the description of displacement,  perhaps disorientation, is one that we can all relate to in our practice. I recently got a sense of being somewhere else in a phone call to Virginia to set up my overseas ballot because it had related to my sometimes needing to concentrate on speaking clearly because of my accent. When i start new things, like a new course, i also sometimes get a sense of displacement. It is an uneasy feeling, but perhaps easier to resolve if anticipated and faced Tanning passed away at the age of 101. 

Are You
If an expatriate is, as I believe, someone 
who never forgets for an instant
being one,
then, no.
But, if knowing that you always
tote your country around
with you, your roots,
a lump
… that being elsewhere packs a vertigo,
a tightrope side you cannot
pass up, another way
to show
how not to break your pretty neck
falling on skylights:
… then, yes.

Masters, Christopher (2012)
The Guardian, Thu 2 Feb 2012 17.39 GMT, online (accessed 3/2/12). Available from:

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