Max Ernst e il collage come motto di spirito

Andrea Zucchinali

This essay aims to highlight the relationship between verbal and visual dimensions in Max Ernst's collages, considered in their various variants. A true author-bridge between the Dada experience and Surrealism, Ernst develops, starting from the bio-mechanomorphic imagery peculiar to Dadaist photomontages, a combinatorial technique that profoundly renews the practice of collage: starting from the photographic collages exhibited in the seminal exhibition at the Au Sans Pareil gallery (1921), the article aims to demonstrate the influence exerted on Ernst by the constant reading of Sigmund Freud's texts since his university studies in Bonn, in particular Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious (1905). In this seminal text, Freud opens the way to linguistic studies of the unconscious and a psychoanalytic approach to aesthetic phenomena: in the description of the peculiar dynamics of the wit – which, as Freud himself notes, present strong analogies with the mechanisms of dream work analysed in the Interpretation of Dreams – this text proposes to identify a specific influence for the logics of organization of the material, verbal and visual, at work in the practice of Ernst's collage at the turn of the Twenties.