Misfortunes of the Immortals is one of Ernst’s first illustrated books—a format that would become increasingly significant for him. Marking the beginning of his close friendship with French poet Paul Éluard, the book pairs the semantic dislocations of Éluard’s poems with the visual disjunctions of Ernst’s recent collages. Ernst cut up wood engravings he found in books and magazines and pieced the fragments together to create strange new compositions. The uniform texture of the wood-engraved lines gives these images a disquieting seamlessness. To Ernst’s delight, this effect was enhanced when the collages were printed photomechanically.
Gallery label from Max Ernst: Beyond Painting, September 23, 2017-January 1, 2018.