Yves Tanguy – Through birds, through fire, but not through glass (1943)


French surrealist Yves Tanguy once expressed that he saw every minute element within a work before laying down the first brushstroke. Tanguy empowered the spectator of his art perhaps moreso than any other surrealist: he urges us to piece together these fragments, to try and unearth some latent logic, but what is certain is that this logic is unique to every viewer. There is no possibility of universal interpretation.

“Whoever believed he had understood something of me had dressed up something out of me after his own image” – Friedrich Nietzsche

3 thoughts on “Yves Tanguy – Through birds, through fire, but not through glass (1943)

  1. I don’t know about “Through birds, through fire, but not through glass” however, I do think we all look at this image through a prism based on ourselves definitely. For example I see elements from Pink Floyd videos and concerts (Hammerheads), I see a “deflated” peach from James and the Giant Peach. I can even make out the ominous shadow silhouette of a Star Wars Battledroid on the ground. Perhaps these paintings are a tool to help us see ourselves and not the artist who paints them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ‘Through the prism of ourselves’ – That is such a cool reading FT! Yeah I also see the battle droid on the right now you’ve said it haha. Viewing Yves Tanguy through the lens of pop culture is a revelation- Im getting a lot of Kubrick vibes, especially the space shuttle shapes

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello again, the battle droid image is stronger in the shadow that is cast on the ground falling to the left of the image, even down to the shape of their backpacks. The actual stack of items creating the shadow reminds me of the iconography in “The Wall” video by Floyd and the Fisher/Park animatronics used on stage by them during the tour. And it’s a shame we no longer have the space shuttle at our disposal to explore space now.

        Liked by 1 person

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