Unica Zürn
German, 1916-1970
Selected exhibitions
Ibid. at Frieze New York 2016,
Ibid Gallery
Ubu Gallery at Frieze Masters 2014,
Ubu Gallery
Khamsa-izm organized by Nicolas Lobo,
Nina Johnson

Known as a prolific poet, novelist, and expressionistic short story writer, Unica Zürn also produced scores of exquisitely detailed, fantastical drawings with colored inks, pencil, gouache, and watercolor on paper. Her stories were published in German newspapers throughout the 1950s. Upon meeting the German Surrealist Hans Bellmer, who became her lover and collaborator, she moved to Paris and began making art. There, Zürn became acquainted with many of the Surrealists, including André Breton, Max Ernst, Man Ray, and Marcel Duchamp. Her drawings reflect a Surrealist approach, seeming to have been generated from the depths of her unconscious, illustrating fantasies and dreams, fears and nightmares. In micro-detail, Zürn describes biomorphic creatures, whose calligraphic folds, lines, and crevices hold recognizable portraits of herself, Bellmer, and the other artists by whom she was …

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