Monday, December 20, 2010

Babylon: Surreal Babies

I came across a series of 'bizarre' and delightful images, a collection of baby postcards featuring in James Birch's latest book "Babylon: Surreal Babies." These weird and wonderful postcards show babies as never seen before. Babies hatch from eggs, flower pots or cabbage patch, and bubble from cauldrons. They ride in zeppelins, and sit atop clouds. They also play instruments, drive cars, harvest the fields and more....
James Birch gathered this collection together as the result of his personal interest in Surrealism. He first discovered the postcards when he was a student in Aix-en-Provence. "A froth of smiling babies boiling away in a cauldron" caught his eye and he bought a small number of cards. He became hooked and started collecting until years later in the 1980s when he visited the Pompidou Centre for an exhibition on Surrealism, where a collection of fantasy baby postcards was on display.

The postcards were a source of inspiration to many artists in the 1920s and 30s, in particular to both the Dadaists and the Surrealists. They were collected by Paul Eluard, Andre Breton, Salvador Dali, Hannah Hoch, Herbert Bayer, and Man Ray. Little is known of their history. The postcards were produced from around 1900-1920 and were found from Russia, to Spain to England and most countries in between, however the majority appear to be from Germany.

A foreword is written by the late George Melly, best known as a jazz and blues singer, writer and broadcaster, he was also an art critic and an expert in the field of Surrealism.

A lovely holiday gift, "Babylon: Surreal Babies" is published by Dewi Lewis Publishing

All images courtesy Dewi Lewis Publishing

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