Monday, May 26, 2014

Multiple Exposures by Val Telberg

Telberg was born in Russia, grew up in China, and settled in the US as an adult, studying ,among other places, at the Art Students’ League in New York (where a few of my friends have also taken classes.)  George Grosz was one of his teachers there.  Telberg was more influenced by Surrealism, than by New Objectivity, though I’m sure Grosz’s Dada years came out in his lessons.

I was aware of Telberg’s work for close to forty years without being very familiar with it.  Aside from the photograph that New Directions used in 1961 for the cover of Louise Varese’s translations of une Saison en Enfer and le Bateau ivre , I didn’t pay enough close attention to his photographs.  I’ve painted several copies of that one photo of (what appears to be) a kneeling man in front of large window through which light is streaming. There is something about the quality of the light in this picture that reverberates within me, though it may mainly be for the associations my subconscious makes between it and Rimbaud’s great poems. In general Telberg’s multiply exposed images show a great love of the urban environment and the ways people come together there, something Rimbaud, a great lover of crowds, also spent a great deal of time observing.

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