Female nude. Signed, titled and dated on recto of thin board mount just below photograph in ink. With Marien's blue address stamp and his red edition stamp, which is initialed and numbered, (No. 1 of 5 examples).
Born April 29, 1920 in Antwerp, Marien was one of the most important Belgium surrealists and situationalists. He was a poet, essayist, photographer, collagist, filmmaker, painter and maker of objects. Mariën was one of the most intriguing and elusive figures in the Belgian wing of the Surrealist movement. He was not only an artist, but also a publisher, a bookseller, a sailor, a journalist in China and an elaborate Surrealist prankster.
In 1937, he first encountered the surrealist paintings of René Magritte in exhibition; and inspired by André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto, he traveled to Brussels to seek out the artist. He began corresponding with Magritte and was warmly welcomed into the close-knit Belgian Surrealist group. Within a year, he had his own work included in the Surrealist group exhibition, Surrealist Objects and Poems, in London. He befriended, not only Rene Magritte, but also Picasso and Paul Eluard.
In 1939, he enlisted in the Belgian Army, but was captured and held as a prisoner of war in Germany. Following his release, he returned to Brussels and wrote and published the very first monograph on Magritte in 1943.
Mariën’s early attempts at expressing his ideas in photography were unsuccessful. It was not until 1943 that he produced his first photograph with a distinctive personal vision, “De Sade à Lénine”, an image of a woman cutting a slice of bread, the loaf gripped tightly against her naked torso, the blade pointing at her left breast. Mariën commented, “the knife passes from de Sade to Lenin”. It was pure Surrealism, marked with the two themes that would characterize his photography: the everyday object stripped of its traditional function and the female body as an instrument of creation.
In 1983, a year after the death of his partner Hedwige Benedix, Mariën again took up photography as a quick and immediate way of expressing his ideas. He carried on where he had left off in the 1940s and began producing one extraordinary image after another, simple yet elegant surreal images with free associations of imagery and text.
“Don’t pay attention to the photography”, commented Mariën, referring to the technical side of the medium. He wanted to capture his ideas immediately and his images are all the more poetic and powerful for it.
He died September 19, 1993 in Brussels.
See: Marien, La Femme Entrouverte, 100 Photographs (Loempia), p.46.
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Medium Silver print
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1983 Print Date 1983
Dimensions 11-9/16 x 9-3/8 in. (294 x 238 mm)
Photo Country Belgium
Photographer Country Belgium
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.