Max Ernst's L’oeil du silence (The Eye of Silence; 1943–44) actively resists interpretation and frustrates any attempts at description. Prolonged looking only gives the viewer more contradictions and impossibilities, rather than bringing more understanding. This talk by Max Dunbar, PhD candidate in the Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences, will explore the indeterminate and ambiguous nature of this enigmatic painting. The Eye of Silence sits in between natural and artificial, imaginary and real, chance and control, human and alien. The image never resolves into an understandable scene, and the viewer is left with a puzzle. Surrealist artists like Ernst recognized the potential in this complex web of signs, indeterminate images, and chimerical forms. The Eye of Silence confronts the viewer with its ambiguity, and it is up to the viewer to make sense of it.
This program is free, but registration is required.