Behind Closed Doors : The Art of Hans Bellmer

Lichtenstein. Therese

Published by University of California Press, 2001
ISBN 10: 0520209842 / ISBN 13: 9780520209848
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254 pp. 16 colour illustrations. 56 b/w illustrations. Published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name held at the International Center of Photography, New York, 29 March - 10 June, 2001. Internally clean without marks or additions. Sound binding. Color and b/w pictorial cloth covered boards with semi-transparent printed glassine dustjacket. Light shelf wear to the dustjacket which is now protected by clear plastic book wrap. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: The life-size, adolescent-girl dolls created by German artist Hans Bellmer in the 1930s are the subject of Therese Lichtenstein's highly original book. Disturbing and controversial, Bellmer's dolls—with their uncanny, fragmented bodies and eroticized poses—were just as shocking during Bellmer's time as they are today. Until now there has been little available in English about Bellmer's dolls, and Lichtenstein's book will be welcomed for its fresh interpretation of the artist's work and his place in European modernism. Eighty striking photographs accompany the text.

Working during a time when Nazism was on the rise, Bellmer created several dolls with fragmented bodies that could be dismantled and arranged in various configurations. Using a narrative format, he then photographed the dolls in a range of grotesque—often sexual—positions. The images he conveyed were of death and decay, abuse and longing, in stark contrast to Nazism's mythic utopian celebration of adolescence.

Lichtenstein interprets Bellmer's complex expressions of eroticism as a protest against the Nazis and also against his father, a cold and repressive Nazi sympathizer. At the same time, she says, by hyperbolically flaunting a passive femininity in a theatrical manner, Bellmer's images allow us to consider how cultural representations can affect the formation of identity and alternative possibilities.

From the Inside Flap: "Behind Closed Doors reveals the complex structure behind these photographs of violated female adolescence, a structure in which sadism, masochism, hermaphroditism, fetishism, utopianism, and nostalgia all play a role. Above all, Lichtenstein's study makes clear the political aspect of these transgressive images: the way in which they served to question and undermine the contemporary authoritarian Nazi image of sexual 'normalcy' by recourse to a violent return of the repressed."—Linda Nochlin, author of Representing Women

"Behind Closed Doors: The Art of Hans Bellmer is a compelling gathering of the narratives around psychoanalysis, visual culture, biology, and gender. Therese Lichtenstein rigorously examines Bellmer's picturing of the body as the site of desire, confusion, and sudden disaster, and in doing so produces a telling tale of history's secrets and lies."—Barbara Kruger, artist and author of Thinking of You

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Behind Closed Doors : The Art of Hans ...
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Pictorial Boards
Book Condition: Very Good
Edition: First Edition

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Book Description Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. 8vo, illustrated cloth binding, dustwrapper, xii + 254pp., frontis. + 59 ills. First edition, first printing. VG+/VG: clean and sound book with one small spot to the fore-edge; whole dustwrapper with a touch of soiling to the rear panel. Bookseller Inventory # ATLHB4417

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Book Description University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: VG. Black and color illus. boards, translucent titled dust jacket, 253 pp., 80 BW and color illus. Addresses and analyzes the "life-size, adolescent-girl dolls created by the German artist Hans Bellmer [1902-1975] in the 1930s.Disturbing and controversial, Bellmer's dolls -- with their uncanny, fragmented bodies and eroticized poses -- were just as shocking during Bellmer's time as they are today. . [This book] will be welcomed for its fresh interpretation of the artist's work and his place in European modernism." (dj). Bookseller Inventory # 161082

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