The Wounded Hands Of Bataille: Hans Bellmer, Bataille, And The Art Of Monstrosity

Jeremy Biles

in Ecce Monstrum

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227785
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235193 | DOI:
The Wounded Hands Of Bataille: Hans             Bellmer, Bataille, And The Art Of Monstrosity

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Artist Hans Bellmer viewed Matthias Grünewald's rendition of the Passion in 1932, during a vacation in Colmar. The encounter had an undeniable effect upon the young artist. Above all, the portrayal of hands in the famous religious painting seems to have influenced Bellmer. Indeed, Bellmer appears to be obsessed with evoking damaged, twisted, monstrous hands in a manner that brings to mind Georges Bataille's virulent insistence on bodily deformation. Bataille and Bellmer not only collaborated in their work, but also partook of a certain intimacy based on their remarkably similar sensibilities. The focus on the hand is a means of externalizing both the horror and pleasure they seek to explore and evoke, as well as the method for doing so—a way of achieving a ravishment of the senses. The writing or drawing of the monstrous thus provokes an experience of monstrous contradiction, or the religious sensibility. A monstrance, the hand also produces monstrosity.

Keywords: Hans Bellmer; monstrance; hands; Passion; monstrosity; horror; pleasure; religious sensibility; bodily deformation

Chapter.  15069 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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