Dora Maar, Le Simulateur, (1936)
Although Maar’s involvement with the surrealist group was brief, lasting only from 1934-1937, her experiments with photomontage created some of surrealism’s most iconic images. She made Le Simulateur by combining a photograph of a vaulted ceiling (the corridor of the Orangerie at Versailles) with a photograph of a boy taken from a contemporary street scene. She then re-photographed the image. The photograph of the vaults was deliberately inverted, and the result was an irrational, disorienting architectural space suggestive of a dream. The boy’s eyes have been scratched out, leaving him blind. Eyes and blindness are recurring themes in Maar’s work, used to suggest that interior imagery, not external visible reality, is the true vision. Here, Maar manipulates photography - the artistic medium most closely associated with the real – to produce an image which complies with Breton’s call for surrealist art to be based on a “purely interior model”.