Authorship and identity in Max Ernst's Loplop

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Abstract

From 1928 to 1932 an avian creature named Loplop, Bird Superior, appears regularly in the collages and paintings of the surrealist artist Max Ernst. In this article I suggest that Ernst models Loplop on the father/totem, as defined by Sigmund Freud in his Totem and Taboo of 1913. An exploration of Ernst's interpretation of Freudian theory in creating Loplop illuminates the character's surprising complexity and centrality to Ernst's oeuvre. As a totem, Loplop emerges from a primary oedipal conflict on which Ernst structures his artistic identity and practice. Equating traditional notions of creative authorship with various forms of patriarchal authority, Ernst's constructed totem signifies his personal, aesthetic and political rejection of individual mastery in favour of his fraternal allegiance to the surrealist group and his embrace of surrealist automatist practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-385
Number of pages29
JournalArt History
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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