Monday, May 04, 2009

Unica Zürn in The New Yorker

Unica Zürn: Dark Spring in The New Yorker.

35 Wooster St. (212-219-2166)—“Unica Zürn: Dark Spring.” The story of Zürn’s life threatens to overshadow her work: in 1970, the fifty-four-year-old German artist, who suffered frequent bouts of depression, jumped to her death from the Paris apartment she shared with her lover, the Surrealist Hans Bellmer. This absorbing show, organized by João Ribas, reveals a gifted—and, yes, tortured—artist, who merits more than the footnote she’s been allocated in the annals of Surrealism. (Zürn may be best known as the author of the cult roman à clef “Dark Spring.”) Intricate works on paper, made using the Surrealist technique of automatic drawing, are filled with fantastical creatures that curl into and out of patterned abstraction. Vitrines in the middle of the gallery contain printed matter, including an exhibition catalogue of Zürn’s work with an introduction written in illegible glyphs by Max Ernst. Disturbing photographs of the artist’s body, bound into grotesqueries with cord, look uncannily like Bellmer’s dolls, transforming a model and muse into a masochistic collaborator. Through July 23. (Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 to 6, and Saturdays, 11 to 6.)