Painting is life, the real life, my life.
—Victor Brauner, epitaph on his grave in Paris
The sculpted piece above is part, along with the quote above, of the Montmartre tomb of Victor Brauner, a Romanian Jewish painter/sculptor who lived from 1903 to 1966, spending most of his life in France. It depicts the heads he often portrayed in his Surrealistic paintings.
I can’t quite remember how I first came across the work of Brauner. I think it might have been in an article that had anti-Nazi art from the 1930’s. He had painted a couple of paintings in 1934 and 1935 during Hitler’s rise, one depicting a fantasy portrait of Hitler with his head being pierced with all sorts of implements. A knife in the eye , for example. The other depicted a German military figure standing atop a swastika that is crushing the bodies under it. Both are powerful propaganda images and are shown below.
But I stumbled across his other work apart from these images and they caught my attention on their own. They are surreal images that often have a Paul Klee-like mysticism in them that I am drawn to. Maybe I also identify with something Brauner once wrote in his notebooks: Each painting that I make is projected from the deepest sources of my anxiety…
Whatever the case, I find them interesting, something more to delve into. Take a look.