GEORGES HUGNET The Love Life of the Spumifers

UBU GALLERY | NOVEMBER 16, 2011 – JANUARY 28, 2012

The talented Georges Hugnet (1906 – 1974) played many roles, including those of poet, editor, publisher, translator, rare book collector, and designer of fine book bindings (not to mention filmmaking and acting), ample evidence of which appears at the Ubu Gallery.

Georges Hugnet. "La Granivelle d'Austerlitz (The Austerlitz Spandle)." No. 30 from the series La Vie Amoureuse des Spumifères (The Love Life of the Spumifers), 1947-48. Gouache on vintage (ca. 1920). Carte postale 5 3/8" × 3 3/8". Image 9 3/4" × 7 1/4" mount.

During the 1930s Hugnet took part in French surrealist activities, publishing books such as Huit Jours à Trebaumec (Eight Days at Trebaumec), 1961,and La Septième Face du De (The Seven Sides of Die), a collection of picto-poetry in which he combined cut-ups with collage. As a collector of erotica, he acquired vintage postcards on which he painted monster-devils or comical chimeras using gouache and fine brush. Colorfully hairy sexual predators, part snake, part bird, and part mammal, appear wedged between the legs of unsuspecting but enthralled young models gripped in sexual ecstasy. These popular, wildly erotic cards exult in the sexy women that populate the exhibition, even as they are invaded by Hugnet’s personal sadomasochistic nightmares combining medieval gargoyles and modern kitsch. The artist’s faux-stamp said it all: “Guaranteed surrealist postcard.”

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Valery Oisteanu

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