• M
  • Desmond Morris
War Woman
© The Artist

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War Woman Dated 19th September 1949
This is a rare example of an object-painting by Morris. It was completed in 1949 following a trip to Paris in which he met several artists from the surrealist group. The three-dimensional construction breaks through the edges of the frame. It shows a female figure against a background of circular shapes and doodles which have a ballistic, explosive quality. As the artist commented: “the figure of the war-woman is perversely angular. In place of the usual curves of the feminine body there are stiff, straight lines and a sense of hardness – the severity of a woman exposed to the rigours of war.” Morris selected everyday objects but when combined and painted they appear alien and brutal: a door-knob as a head, a picture frame to represent her pelvis and a cork-fishing float as her genitals.

Glossary Open

Surrealism

A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Surrealism

Details

  • Acc. No. GMA 4830
  • Medium Mixed media on board
  • Size 71.00 x 43.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased with funds from the Cecil and Mary Gibson Bequest 2007