Woman Frightened By A Ball of String by Paul Nougé

The poet and philosopher, Paul Nougé (1895-1967) was an influential (though now fairly obscure) member of the Belgian Surrealist school, and a cohort of René Magritte. He was a founding member of the Belgian Communist party in 1921. Also a photographer, his images are pretty great. If inclined, you might wish to listen to this song, A New Way of Juggling, by Portland band Print (the) Seas (https://printtheseas.bandcamp.com/track/surrealist-poet-philosopher-paul-nouge), inspired by the image above

My research - admittedly annoying flawed, oh, internet, you have such gaps when it comes to the women of Surrealism - tells me that the woman in the photos above is Paul’s wife, Martha Nougé (or at least, this is how she’s credited in other group photos of the Belgian Surrealists) who otherwise has little in the way of visible biography. However…

Here is a poem by Paul about Martha, translated (by William Kulik) and published long after both of their deaths, in 2006.

It’s got echoes of Joyce’s Nora letters, I warn you, if you’re easily offended by graphic - and it also has some insight into the way a man such as Nouge might look at his wife (as well as other women - woefully). And the way she might look at him. There’s something desperately intimate, and blind as well, in this narrative.

Outline of a Hymn to Martha Beauvoisin

This blank page scares me
because I've got to fill it with so many signs
because I haven't lost a single drop of the life
I've shared with you

The drops of your life
or if you like or even if you don't
those delicate everlasting periods

So I'll get right down to the sunlight of our days

When did I see you for that famous
I don't picture you the whole you any more
only your lower lip trembling
your incredibly white forehead
the yellow Poiret coat
and the odor of Jiky that male scent
That lesbian perfume

I remember you saying....
[Continued at http://mariadahvanaheadley.tumblr.com/post/48368110659/the-movements-of-the-spheres-paul-nougé-la]
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Tags: artists wife
Media: photography