65 Maximiliana is the culmination of Ernst’s profound engagement with illustrated books. The project was a collaboration between the artist and Iliazd (Il’ia Zdanevich), a Georgian-born book designer and publisher. The title refers to a planetoid discovered in 1861 by the unsung German astronomer Ernst Wilhelm Tempel, who named it in honor of Maximilian II, then king of Bavaria. Ernst’s text and biomorphic aquatints pay homage to Tempel as a kindred spirit seeking to represent domains outside ordinary human perception; they are complemented by the typography that Iliazd designed to float, constellation-like, across each page. Ernst also added a hieroglyphic script of his own invention to many of the pages.
Gallery label from Max Ernst: Beyond Painting, September 23, 2017-January 1, 2018.