Untitled (Butterfly Habitat) 1940 construction by Joseph Cornell (1903 - 1972)
In Greek and Japanese symbology, the butterfly refers to the soul.
Untitled (Paul and Virginia) 1946-48, detail of a construction by Joseph Cornell. Inspired by a romantic story of a young couple who found happiness on an island.
Museum, 1944-48, construction by Joseph Cornell. In each small bottle is a tiny object. The label in the lid lists them. (watchmaker's sweepings, souvenir of Monte Carlo, chimney - sweeper's relic, Mayan feathers, white landscape, etc)
Swiss Shoot the Chutes, 1941, a game construction by Joseph Cornell. A collage of the map of Switzerland is cut into to reveal little figures. When a small wooden ball is dropped in one of them at the top corner, it strikes twelve bells one at a time as it descends the ramp.
Toward the Blue Peninsula (for Emily Dickinson), 1953, white painted construction by Joseph Cornell.
Dovecote, 1952, construction by Joseph Cornell. Cornell made a series of Dovecotes in the 1950's, where formal order and purity is offset by the element of play. The three balls can roll around inside the interior.
Joseph Cornell's use of the grid, of the dot which is a hole, of the idea of revealing or keeping safe at the same time, and the element of chance and play have been inspirational for my own work. Like here, here and here.