Balthus: Works | Interviews

Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafa 2008

(French edition)
Balthus: Oevres, Écrits, Entretiens
Trans. Jean-François Allain, Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafa 2008

(Spanish edition)
Balthus: Obras y entrevista
Trans. Marta Pérez Sánchez, Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafa 2008

back cover text:

Mieke Bal’s analysis is focused on the eerie sense of very real and very unreal that the paintings emanate. She considers this the heart of Balthus’s work. It invites viewers in and repels them at the same time. We get access to a world all his own, but are not told what is there to see. Thus, the works labor against assumptions of representation and appropriation. The means of this labor - figuration - is indispensable for the effect.

Although figurativity is supposedly the royal road to realism, in Balthus’s it is not at all. Bal argues that the paintings draw the viewer into a world we know not to exist. This canny fictionality makes allegations of erotic appropriation naïve and censoring. Reducing Balthus’s work to the paintings of nude adolescent girls is, moreover, ignoring his many works that are not in the least focused on this theme. Color, space, genres or history are some of the key concepts that the author put in the center of Balthus’s work.