Jeux (Games)

Óscar Domínguez

La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain, 1906 - Paris, France, 1957
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
    Wood, wire, paint, metal, hairbrush, toy gun, bellows and feathers
  • Technique: 
  • Dimensions: 
    21 x 50 x 21 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

Óscar Domínguez began work on this piece before he actually became part of the surrealist group in 1934. His friend the poet Georges Hugnet, to whom Domínguez gave the piece to celebrate the birth of his son, said of the painter’s work in the field of surrealist objects: “His investigation centred, on the one hand, on a search for technical discoveries, and on the other on the creation of imaginary objects, some of which were frankly astonishing.” Jeux (Games) is made from found objects such as a toy pistol, a pair of bellows and other elements which form an unsettling figure somewhat resembling a praying mantis, an insect that turns up in other pictorial works of Domínguez, and is loaded with connotations of the Freudian castration complex, which at the time was something that also interested other artists such as Dalí and Brassaï. Jeux connects the subject of children’s games to the sexual fears and anxieties which, according to Freud, first appear during every human’s early years. Domínguez also joined the surrealists’ interest in entomology to his own origins in the Canary Islands; after his acceptance into the group, and 1935’s ‘Surrealist Exhibition’ at the Ateneo in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the surrealists began to see the Canary Islands’ land, flora and fauna as a catalogue of pseudo-mythic motifs connected to the wild and the telluric.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio