Friday, February 06, 2009

Archive: Shadow Boxes






Joseph Cornell is the granddaddy of shadow boxes — in the 1930s and 1940s, he created simple wooden boxes filled with disparate objects such as dime-store toys, stationary from European hotels, old pipes and Victorian photographs. He once explained that "I'm interested in the past lives of things and the associations they evoke." Very much in the spirit of the Surrealist movement of the time, his work brought together unrelated elements to create a new narrative. These photos are examples of shadow boxes inspired by the work of Cornell — either as a way of displaying a collection, or for a more complex exploration of objects that have a personal significance.

P.S. Fun related link: The Joseph Cornell Box site.

Scanned by me from a vintage copy of Martha Stewart Living, with story by Jennifer Tung and photographs by William Abranowicz.

5 comments :

drollgirl said...

super post!!! and i was JUST planning on doing a post about Joseph Cornell! crazy! he is one of my all-time favorites.

automatism said...

Thanks so much! So funny you were going to do a post on Cornell too — must be something in the air!

:-)

Nanette said...

Brilliant! Thanks for the link to Cornell.
It's always a good read here!

blossom said...

beautiful pictures.....I'd never heard of Cornell before, so off to find out more. especially love the photo of glasses & vases, so lovely!

P said...

This is so beautiful and inspiring. I have so many gew-gaws from my travels - perhaps I'll try to round them up in a shadow box.

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