“If the origin of my work is a scandal, it is because, for me, the world is a scandal.”
In the art world, Bellmer is most frequently though of as a Surrealist photographer. Although a native of Germany, his work was largely unknown in his own country until he was declared a ‘degenerate’ by the Nazi party and forced to flee. Upon his arrival in France in 1938, Bellmer was instantly embraced by the Surrealist movement
Perhaps most well known for his doll series, Hans Bellmer produced sculptures, photographs, books and etchings in addition to theoretical and poetic writings; and an outpouring of drawings in an obsessive quest for a monstrous dictionary dedicated to the ambivalence of the body.
The doll project was begun in the 1930′s as a political outcry against the uprising of Nazi fascism and the quest for an “ideal “Aryan race. Eventually, his work was branded as degenerate by the Nazis, and he was forced to flee to Paris. Not long after his arrival in he City of Light, he was happily embraced by the founding fathers and mothers of surrealism. Andre Breton took particular interest in Bellmer’s intrepretation of the beauty of the female form and the sexualization of youth.
There is no doubt that Bellmer’s work stirs reaction even yet today. In the fall of 2006, London’s influential Whitechapel Art Gallery withdrew several works from a major 150-work Bellmer retrospective exhibition, due to fears of “offending” London’s radical Islamic groups.