Max Ernst (1891-1976), Two Sexless Figures. Chimerae, 1933

© Max Ernst (1891-1976), Two Sexless Figures. Chimerae, 1933.

Two Sexless Figures. Chimerae is a complex subject on more levels than one. The chimera itself is a composite being, in this case incorporating vegetable, animal, and human forms.

Female attributes and male genitalia

The yellow-orange wing belonging to the figure with the female attributes continues in a stylised plant motif on the blue figure. The placement indicates that it is a symbol of male genitalia. Thus, the union of the two figures is not asexual, but hermaphrodite.

The androgynous and the surrealists
The Surrealists linked androgyny to an original state that preceded the division into sexes. A state more closely associated with the creative power of sexuality and so an ideal to be aspired to. During the 1930s, inspiration from European art was an important catalyst for the Danish artist belonging to the circle surrounding the journal Linien (the Line). Ejler Bille, Richard Mortensen, and Wilhelm Freddie, among others, were also strongly influenced by Ernst and his take on French Surrealism.

According to Ernst, a random juxtaposition of elements aided the unconscious process of image formation for artists and spectators alike, giving rise to new, surprising wholes.

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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