Monday, May 17, 2010


Une Semaine De Bonte trans. A Week of Kindness.

These strange, but true images are of the very real surreal from a book by Max Ernst of the above title. The Figure of the male as bird is interesting and creepy in his anonymity. Not something I would like to wake up to. Their beady eyes and long beaks - too much! But they are lovely things to look at. Macabre.

Une semaine de bonté comprises 182 images created by cutting up and re-organizing illustrations from Victorian novels, encyclopedias, and other books. Ernst arranged the images to present a dark, surreal world. Most of the seven sections have a distinct theme that unites the images within. In Sunday the element is mud, and Ernst's example for this element is the Lion of BelfortThe element of the next section, consequently, this section features numerous characters with lion heads. Monday, is water, and all of the images show water, either in a natural setting, or flowing inside bedrooms, dining rooms, etc. Some of the characters are able to walk on water, while others drown. The element associated with Tuesday is fire, and so most of the images in this section feature dragons or fantastic lizards. The last of the large sections, Wednesday, contains numerous images of bird-men.

The element of Thursday, "blackness", has two examples instead of one. The first example, "a rooster's laughter", is illustrated with more images of bird-men. The second example, Easter Island is illustrated with images portraying characters with Maoi heads. Friday, the most abstract part of the entire book, contains various images that resist categorization. They include collages of human bones and plants, one of which was used for the cardboard slipcase that was meant to house all five volumes of Une semaine de bonté. The final section of the book, Saturday, contains 10 images. The element given is "the key to songs"; the images are once again uncategorizable. The section, and with it the book, ends with several images of falling women.

No full interpretation of Une semaine de bonté has ever been published. The book, like its predecessors, has been described as projecting "recurrent themes of sexuality, anti-clericalism and violence, by dislocating the visual significance of the source material to suggest what has been repressed."

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