HuffPost Arts' Haiku Reviews are regular features where we invite critics to review exhibitions and performances in short form. Some will be in the traditional Haiku form of 5x7x5 syllables, others might be a sonnet or even a string of words. This week George Heymont takes us on a sensory tour of productions by up and coming playwrights, and Peter Frank shines a light on surrealistic postcards, glossy pills and then some.
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Georges Hugnet was one of those surrealists who fully exploited the practical liberties afforded him by the fiercely irreverent, boundary-dissolving movement. Hugnet's cache in the history of surrealism has risen since his death as the lyric wit of his images and writings - and combinations thereof - become better known; this show of a frankly extraordinary series of altered postcards he realized just after the War and annotated in the early '60s could even make him a pop star of sorts. "The Love Life of the Spumifers" finds Hugnet taking gouache to antique erotic photograph and providing the luscious ladies with eager companions. These are no ordinary loverboys, however, but brightly-colored, grotesquely-formed creatures whose faces, limbs and appendages prove staggeringly versatile. Of course, in psychological terms these "Spumifers" function as surrogates for the beholder; but, as those elaborate annotations indicate, Hugnet regarded them as a species in their own right, monsters perhaps sprung from our ids (hence their broadly childlike cartoonishness - imagine Dr. Seuss getting really down and dirty) but now autonomous in their presence, however predictable (and, er, successful) in their behavior.
GEORGES HUGNET, La Granivelle d'Austerlitz ["The Austerlitz Spandle"], No. 30 from the series La Vie Amoureuse des Spumifères ["The Love Life of the Spumifers"], 1947-48, Gouache on vintage (ca. 1920) postcard, 9 3/4 x 7¼ inches (image and mount)
(Ubu Gallery, 416 E. 59th St., NY; thru February 11. www.ubugallery.com)
by Peter Frank