After Surrealism, the return of schematic figurative art

We reveal the enigma that lies behind this scene

We reveal the enigma that lies behind this scene We reveal the enigma that lies behind this scene

Óscar Domínguez
Woman with Bird, 1947
© Óscar Domínguez, VEGAP, Madrid, 2020 

Following his move to Paris in 1925 to run his father’s business affairs, Canary Island native Óscar Domínguez started frequenting the Surrealist circle led by André Bretón. From 1934, the powerful dreamlike undertone of his painting elevated him as one of the most important artists in this group, along with Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. His automatic technique, with an emphasis on spontaneity, is famous; however, from the 1940s the Canarian artist returned to a type of schematic figurative art that alienated him from the group, as we can see in Woman with Bird in the Fundación MAPFRE Collection.

The theme, already well known in the world of art history, refers to the artist’s studio and model, but in this case the painter has turned into a bird, a creature that, nevertheless, resembles a man. The bird and the woman establish a silent dialogue. What are they talking about? What is the enigma behind the scene?

A bird is singing to me
and I sing back to him
he twitters upon hearing me
and I twitter back
he injures me and I bleed on him
he smashes me
I break him
he tears me apart
I crush him
he helps me
I pick him up
all filled up with peace
with war
with hate and love
and once untied
his voice whines and I whine back
he laughs and I laugh back
he looks at me and I look at him
he talks to me and I talk to him
he loves me and I love him (…)

Love, Idea Vilariño ca. 1957