This one shouted at me to stop and stare. What’s not to like? Smoking chimneys… prospect of travel…my new love of wearing red lipstick …the swirling vortex and then just to unsettle you, the image of a ship tumbling about on the waves. “Life’s not all plain sailing” says Dorothea.
So, first thought was nice rack, Dot! But then I got all serious and just loved the idea of those doors all opening on themselves. Doors are clearly a big part of surrealist art, but somehow, hers seemed more sinister than inviting.
What was it about him that drove the ladies wild, eh? Can’t see it myself: those bright blue eyes and shock of white hair? his huge talent?his massive ego? Whatever it was, once again, as a muse he still has that shamenistic look about him in her portrait, just as Leonora portrayed in her portrait of Max.
About the title:
Victoria Carruthers: Tanning herself believes the work to be directly related to a song popular in her childhood.
In room two hundred and two
The walls keep talkin’ to you
I’ll never tell you what they said
So turn out the light and come to bed.
Written in the 1920s, the song laments the fate of Kitty Kane, one-time Chicago gangster’s wife, who poisoned herself in room 202 of a local hotel. There are
several verses but these are the words she remembers….
—excerpt from “Between Silence and Sound: John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and the Sculptures of Dorothea Tanning,” Art, History and the Senses: 1830 to the Present, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2010, p. 114.
If you read Dorothea’s own explanation of this, it makes sense as to why, in 2019, this painting has the ability to make you feel uncomfortable: The Guest Room
This exhibition is definitely worth a visit and it is wonderful to see so much of her work all together.