Tilly Losch by Cecil Beaton (1929)

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Tilly Losch by Cecil Beaton bromide print, circa 1929 8 1/8 in. x 6 3/4 in. (205 mm x 157 mm) Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and allocated to the Gallery, 1991 © Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby’s London via

Amazing Surreal Photomontages by Grete Stern

Grete Stern (1904-1999) was German born but adopted Argentine nationality after living in the country for 23 years.

In 1948 Stern was offered the unusual assignment of providing photos for a column on the interpretation of dreams in the popular weekly women’s magazine Idilio. The column, entitled “Psychoanalysis Will Help You,” was a response to dreams sent in by readers, mostly working-class women. It was written under the pseudonym Richard Rest by renowned sociologist Gino Germani, who later became a professor at Harvard University. The result was a series of about one hundred and fifty photomontages produced between 1948 and 1951 that show Stern’s avant-garde spirit. In these photomontages she portrays women’s oppression and submission in Argentine society with sarcastic and surreal images. The photomontage was an ideal way for Stern to express her ideas about the dominant values.

It has been claimed that the motivating semiotic principle behind Grete Stern’s photomontages is the need to create a language for women’s dreams; this language may be, in a first instance, sympathetic with the repression and oppres­sion of women, and in a second instance it may be critical of the pscyhoanalytic project with regard to women’s experience.

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“Little Little Man” by Alfonsina Storni (1892 – 1938)

Little little man, little little man,
set free your canary that wants to fly.
I am that canary, little little man,
leave me to fly.

I was in your cage, little little man,
little little man who gave me my cage.
I say “little little” because you don’t understand me
Nor will you understand.

Nor do I understand you, but meanwhile,
open for me the cage from which I want to escape.
Little little man, I loved you half an hour,
Don’t ask me again.

Vintage Photos of Expressionist Dancer Mary Wigman

Strong and convincing art has never arisen from theories – Mary Wigman 

Mary Wigman (1886 – 1973) was a German dancer, choreographer, notable as the pioneer of expressionist dance, dance therapy, and movement training without pointe shoes. She is considered one of the most important figures in the history of modern dance. She became one of the most iconic figures of Weimar German culture and her work was hailed for bringing the deepest of existential experiences to the stage. Wigman, who viewed herself as a dancer of humanity, proved fascinating to painters Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchne. Her dances were often accompanied by world music and non-Western instrumentation, such as fifes and primarily percussions, bells, including the gongs and drums from India, Thailand, Africa, and China, contrasted with silence. She would often employ masks in her pieces, influenced again by non-western/tribal dance.

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Mary Wigman Performing

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Clips from Totenmal 1929

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Mary Wigman performs Hexentanz in 1929

Amazing Photos of the First Modern Dancer Isadora Duncan

Isadora Duncan (1877 – 1927)  is known as the mother of  “modern dance,” founding the “New System” of interpretive dance, blending together poetry, music and the rhythms of nature.  She did not believe in the formality of conventional ballet and gave birth to a more free form of dance. She ultimately proved to be the most famous dancer of her time.

Duncan’s philosophy of dance moved away from rigid ballet technique and towards what she perceived as natural movement. To restore dance to a high art form instead of entertainment, she sought the connection between emotions and movement:

“I spent long days and nights in the studio seeking that dance which might be the divine expression of the human spirit through the medium of the body’s movement.”

“The dancer’s body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul.”

Duncan took inspiration from ancient Greece and combined it with an American love of freedom. This is exemplified in her revolutionary costume of a white Grecian tunic and bare feet. Inspired by Grecian forms, her tunics also allowed a freedom of movement corseted ballet costumes and pointe shoes did not. She was very inspired by ancient Greek art and utilized some of those forms in her movement. Duncan wrote of American dancing:

“let them come forth with great strides, leaps and bounds, with lifted forehead and far-spread arms, to dance.”

Her focus on natural movement emphasized steps, such as skipping, outside of codified ballet technique. Duncan also cites the sea as an early inspiration for her movement. Also, she believed movement originated from the solar plexus, which she thought was the source of all movement. It was this philosophy and new dance technique that garnered Duncan the title of the creator of modern dance.

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Japanese Butterflies 1908 silent by Segundo de Chomon

Les papillons japonais, is an early silent era film released in France circa 1908 by Segundo de Chomón who was a pioneering Spanish film director. He produced many short films in France while working for Pathé Frères and has been compared to Georges Méliès, due to his frequent camera tricks and optical illusions. He is regarded as one of the most significant Spanish silent film directosr in an international context.

This film is essentially a genre picture — the sort of stage/film magic hybrid that Georges Melies had pioneered. It is partially hand colored and shows several Japanese characters and eventually a worm change into a butterfly. While flapping it’s wings the butterfly changes colors as it flies, before changing into a girl performing the serpentine dance popular in France and elsewhere at the time