Joseph Cornell’s Untitled (Soap Bubble Set) was created in 1936 and featured in the Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. It is a shadow box that showcases surrealist imagery, including a clay pipe and a map of the moon. The set was one of Cornell’s earliest shadow boxes and reflects his fascination with space technology and astronomy.
Cornell’s series of Soap Bubble Sets reflect his appreciation for astronomy from an early age. Blue Soap Bubble, created later in 1949-1950, builds on this childhood memory by again featuring images of the cosmos. Furthermore, it is connected to other works produced by Cornell as part of his longer exploration into universe-themed artwork.
Known for his use of shadow boxes as signature style elements throughout his career, Joseph Cornell participated in “Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism” when he was still starting out as an artist. Meanwhile,the set uses its unique aesthetic features to create an immersive environment around that complements its focus on science fictive elements related to modern masterpieces from this movement.
Today the Soap Bubble Set is part of the collection at Wadsworth Atheneum—a museum dedicated to classifying visual art from different movements worldwide. This artistic masterpiece reveals some facets about this medium like thre ability to convey complex themes through unconventional materials or perspecitives used within their creation process.