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Max Ernst at the Musée d'Orsay

Freddie Young writing for VINGT Paris
Max Ernst, Oedipus 25 The exhibition of Max Ernst's dark 'Une Semaine de Bonté' at the Musée d'Orsay offers a rare glimpse of the German surrealist's work as a graphic artist. Better known as a painter and sculptor, the piece on show here shows his macabre ideas translated into the format of a graphic novel. 

'Une Semaine de Bonté' is made up of 184 black and white collages arranged in a sequence corresponding to the days of the week. In 1933, as the Nazis came to power in his homeland, a disillusioned Ernst cut 184 images out of Victorian publications and re-assembled them, interposed with pictures selected from other sources. 

The resultant collages are striking - Ernst's additions to the original scenes add a grotesque element. Formal images of polite society become gruesome visions of violence and torture. 

Many have a dream-like quality, with animal heads replacing those of humans and bodies contorted unnaturally. Ernst's alterations to the original pictures is executed with great skill and the final results provide a fascinating insight into the (occasionally disturbing) mind of one of the twentieth century's most radical artists.

Max Ernst's 'Une Semaine de Bonté' is at the Musée d'Orsay until September 13th.

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