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Jean- Paul Journaux

Private collection, Paris


Flowers, leaves and hands appear often in Agar’s work, with the artist favouring these motifs for the way in which they link nature and Man in a kind of syncretic interaction and, one might almost say, a symbolic cross-fertilization. In this work the former come to belong to the latter – the hands actually embody the flowers and leaves in a kind of embedding as if they were turning into them. This is where the surrealist dimension of the collage lies, achieved by the two flowers exterior to the hand, one within the grasp of the white hand, the other placed just beside it. This points to a process of accretion, central to Eileen Agar’s work as well as to surrealism. Will the hands grab them or will the flowers join the others willingly, through drawn by some form of mysterious, irresistible force. The uncertain nature of the move hints at a kind of “suspension of disbelief”, central, again, to surrealism. The fragment of the word which appears at the bottom is further proof of this: at the very place where the limit between the inside of the collage and its outside is broken, (where the metacarpian end of the hand is deliberately made to overlap the bottom line of the frame right at the center of the collage), there appears five letters “ illet”, which no doubt is the end of the French word “oeillet”, which means “ carnation”, the flowers’ identity (truncated, cut , as the flowers are). Here the viewer is asked to complete the word as we are also asked to interpret and complete the collage using the powers of our own imagination. We would like to thank Michel Remy for his assistance with the cataloguing of this work.