Masculine‑feminine fantasies: the phantasmagorias of Hans Bellmer
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In 2013, the publishing house Word/Image Territory [Słowo/ obraz terytoria] reissued the book Bellmer, or The Anatomy of Physical Unconsciousness and Love. On one of its final pages is Hans Bellmer’s dedication, addressed to a surrealist painter. It reads as follows: ‘When everything that a man is not joins him, then he finally seems to be himself’. This inscription is the focal point of this paper. The discussion will concern the aspect of Bellmer’s work referring to the masculine‑feminine fantasies, blurring of genders and the search for one’s identity. It seems that the artist, who snatched a doll from a child’s embraces and exalted it to the rank of a work of art, only to apply to it ball joints and a defragmented body so that its parts could be assembled freely, then locked this Pygmalion of his in erotic photographs or drawings, must have sought alienation. His efforts gave rise to phantasmagorias evident in each of his works. Experiencing the works of Bellmer raises a question which is complementary to the title of the paper: How much Hans is there in Bellmer?
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