Unica Zürn

Unica zurn

1916 - 1970

Lives in Paris (FR).

Unica Zürn grew up surrounded by exotic, ephemeral objects collected by her father, a cavalry officer stationed in Africa. Inspired perhaps in part by her father’s gifts from afar and a longing for greater contact with him, Zürn developed a rich fantasy life and a vivid imagination. This is evidenced in her dense, otherworldly drawings of fantastical creatures meticulously constructed out of finely rendered, obsessively repetitive shapes and lines. Already an accomplished author, Zürn produced most of her oeuvre during the 1950s and 60s while involved with the German Surrealist, Hans Bellmer. With Bellmer’s encouragement, Zürn began to experiment with “automatic” drawings and anagrams, natural extensions of her established interest in hidden meanings and coincidences. The 1960s were an intensely productive period for Zürn—though one marked by her deteriorating mental health and the unraveling of her relationship with Bellmer. On October 19, 1970, Zürn leapt to her death from the balcony of the Paris apartment she had shared with Bellmer.

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