Tate Modern

Max Ernst ‘Celebes’, 1921 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

Monday, our first day in London. First stop this week, Tate Modern museum.

Tate is a museum of modern art with a lot of different exhibitions and pieces.

Especially one piece (the picture above) caught my attention. Therefor I have chosen to dedicate this blogpost to the artist who painted the picture, Max Ernst.

Max Ernst, born in 1891, was a German sculptor, painter, graphic artist and a poet. Ernst is known as a pioneer within dada and  surrealism.

In 1909 Ernst began at  the University of Bonn, studying philosophy, art history, literature, psychology and psychiatry. Max Ernst spent some of his time in mental hospitals and found great inspiration in the art of the mentally ill patients. During the 1. world war he was enrolled in the German army and served at both the western and eastern front. He wrote in his auto biography: “On the first of August 1914 Max Ernst died. He was resurrected on the eleventh of November 1918”

In 1919 he married Luise Straus, an art-history student whom he had met before the war.  The same year he also travelled Europe studying paintings and other pieces. He was especially inspired by the French artists and spent some time visiting his friend Paul Klee in Munich. Together they studied the work of Giorgio de Chirico, an Italian artist, famous for inspiring surrealist artists through the scuola metafisica art movement.

Also in 1919 Ernst, social activist Johannes Theodor Baargeld, and several colleagues founded the Cologne Dada group. In 1919–20 Ernst and Baargeld published various short-lived magazines such as Der Strom and die schammade, and organized Dada exhibitions.

The painting in the beginning of this post was made in 1921. It is a special picture since it combines the dreamlike atmosphere of Surrealism and the collage aspects of Dada. Ernest once said that the name of the painting, Celebes, was taken from the first line in a German schoolboy’s rhyme.

Der Elefant von Celebes

Hat hinten etwas Gelebes

Der Elefant von Sumatra

Der vögelt seine Grossmama

Der Elefant von Indien

Der kann das Loch nicht finden

(The elephant from [C]elebes

has sticky, yellow back grease

The elephant from Sumatra

The memory lane of his grandmother

The elephant from India

one can never find the hole)






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s