Object (Abeilles) (1940) by Joseph Cornell

Object (Abeilles) - Joseph Cornell - 1940

Artwork Information

TitleObject (Abeilles)
ArtistJoseph Cornell
Dimensions9 1/8 x 14 1/8 x 3 7/16 in.
Art MovementSurrealism

About Object (Abeilles)

“Object (Abeilles)” is an artwork created by Joseph Cornell in 1940, renowned for its alignment with the surrealism movement. The dimensions of the artwork are 9 1/8 x 14 1/8 x 3 7/16 inches, classified under the genre of installation. The piece epitomizes the unconventional juxtapositions for which surrealism is celebrated, engaging the viewer in an exploration of the subconscious and fantastical.

The artwork itself reveals an assemblage which was a characteristic method of Cornell, involving the employment of found objects to create a new narrative. This piece showcases a collage background with figures that appear to be from a classical or mythological scene, replete with a dynamic sense of movement and drama. The collage combines painting and cut-outs and exhibits depth, suggesting a three-dimensional space akin to a diorama. The presence of a string of white cut-out text against the blue backdrop adds the element of language, hinting at the enigmatic meanings or references Cornell often inserted in his works. The text appears fragmented, and it is stretching across the scene, it disrupts the visual flow and creates a dialogue between the visual elements and the evocative power of words.

The object’s wooden box format, another hallmark of Cornell’s style, is visible, further containing and framing the world within and suggesting a window into a dream or memory. The textures, the interplay of light and shadow, and the composition of elements all contribute to the ethereal and mysterious quality of the work. Through “Object (Abeilles),” Cornell invites the viewer into a private universe where the boundaries of time, space, and meaning are as fluid and enigmatic as the surreal dreamscape he constructs.

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