|Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Pinturicchio Boy), 1942-52|
I love Joseph Cornell's work even though it is rich in qualities that I generally dislike or resist (in art and in life): whimsy, sentimentality, nostalgia, fantasy, surrealism. However, there is a poetry in the best of his work which completely transcends those tropes. His boxed (sometimes 'caged') assemblages of found objects - balls, bottles, feathers, shells, maps, photographs - achieve a deeply affecting melancholy and mystery which make them much more interesting than the sum of their parts. Film stars and faces from Renaissance paintings trapped in arcane 'slot machines' gaze out sadly; maps, souvenirs and labels evoke the romance and 'memory' of foreign travel never taken. Assembled by a shy man, who lived at the gloriously named Utopia Parkway (New York), these objects constitute a remarkable and visionary body of work.
Read a feature article by Olivia Laing and reviews by Laura Cumming, Alastair Sooke, Martin Gayford, Rachel Cooke and Jonathan Jones.
Click on images to enlarge; NB images have been selected before visiting the exhibition so may not all be included in the show.
|Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Soap Bubble Set), 1936|
|Joseph Cornell, Tilly Losch, c1935|
Joseph Cornell, L'Egypte de Mlle Cléo de Mérode, cours élémentaire d'histoire naturelle, 1940
|Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall), 1945-46|
|Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Medici Princess), c1948|
|Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Medici Prince), c1952|
|Joseph Cornell, Untitled (The Hotel Eden), c1945|
|Joseph Cornell, Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery, 1943|
|Joseph Cornell, Toward the "Blue Peninsular", 1951-52|