Retrospective of Hans Bellmer

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Date: 2006

Region: Europe

Subject: Religious, Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Photography, Painting and Sculpture


La Poupee, Hans Bellmer

Artist: Hans Bellmer (1902 - 1975)

Confronting Bodies: Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery

Dates of Action: September, 2006

Location: Whitechapel Gallery, London, England

Description of Artwork: Surreal, ghoulish depictions of human anatomy, such as life-size nude dolls.

The Incident: The exhibition, originally mounted at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, arrived at the Whitechapel in September. Twelve pieces were then removed from the exhibition the day before it opened to the public. The gallery cited simply lack of space, however, Agnès de la Baumelle, the curator of the exhibition, stated the works had been personally removed by Iwona Blazwick, the Whitechapel Gallery Director, as an act of censorship. According to Baumelle, Blazwick had described the works in question as "sulphurous" and had declared that they would be dangerous to exhibit not just because of their "paedophile" overtones but also because the area of Whitechapel has a large Muslim population.

Results of Incident: The exhibition opened without the offending images. Baumelle herself protested at the works' removal, as did two of the collectors who loaned items for the exhibition. One of the collectors threatened to withdraw all of his loans from the exhibition unless the twelve censored works were reinstated.

Source: http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/hans-bellmer, http://artnectar.com/2011/04/naked-truth-about-art/, http://robberbridegroom.blogspot.com/2006/10/bellmers-sulphurous-scandal.html and Reuters