Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

I really dig this God sculpture by German Expressionist artist, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. While I am most certainly familiar with her contemporary, Marcel Duchamp’s famous Fountain sculpture, I am not sure I knew about this one. Certainly not by name, anyway.

To make God, she took a household plumbing pipe, turned it upside down and nailed it to a wooden box. Like the Fountain, this is a “readymade,” which means an everyday object repurposed into art. I can totally dig this, as I often find beauty in everyday objects; Except it was not chosen for any innate beauty, or design. It is meant to be absurdist and nonsensical. The name, God, for instance has no correlation to the sculpture. It’s not even supposed to be blasphemous…I really don’t think even that much thought went into it.

A prominent figure in the movement, Elsa was very eccentric, and by many accounts a total loon, which is totally in keeping with the Dada mentality. She would often wear her many sculptures on her clothing. She was also a writer. [Sidenote: her poetry could be seen alongside James Joyce’s Ulysses] Sadly, she has all but been forgotten, overshadowed by her male peers. It is said that she co-created The Fountain.

You can see God at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

#art, #expressionistart, #germanexpressionistart, #arthistory, #readymades

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