The Ties that Bind Hans Bellmer'sTenir au Fraisto Heinrich Von Kleist

Hazel Donkin
  • History of Photography, November 2012, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/03087298.2012.703371

Hans Bellmer, Heinrich Von Kleist and Surrealism

What is it about?

The German artist Hans Bellmer was championed by the French Surrealists in the mid 20th century. His challenging art works answered their call for works of 'unfettered imagination'. This article proposes that his art works also addressed their love of German Romantic literature. The article focuses on a disturbing collage made by Bellmer showing a naked woman's body tightly bound by string. This image was used on the front cover of a Surrealist magazine in 1958.

Why is it important?

Although this shocking collage by Bellmer has previously been discussed by scholars in relation to Surrealism, it has never been discussed in terms of its relation to the specific contents of the magazine that it fronted. This article argues that the image is directly related to the text inside the magazine devoted to the German Romantic writer Heinrich Von Kleist which is concerned with the extremes of passion and suffering

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