Medium : Iron, cast, welded

Dimensions : 65,5 x 20 x 30 cm

“Le Rêve/le Baiser (The Dream/The Kiss)” is a work executed by Julio González in forged and welded iron around 1934.

The base is formed of a rectangular prism-shape.  A rectangular platen juts out from one side, across from a T-shape of two platens welded to the other.  The upper left extremity of the T supports a rounded vertical rod, which culminates in four short, pointy, diagonal lines.  A half-sphere formed of forged and welded bits of scrap metal is situated in the center of this rod.  The opening of the half-sphere is pierced by a slender diagonal cone.  A circular element half covered by a jagged piece of iron, with short, pointy diagonal lines flanking it on one side, is attached to one side of the cone, while a rounded iron rod extends from the other side of the cone to the side of the half-sphere.  An additional vertical rod extends diagonally from the bottom of the T-shaped element on the base, pointing towards the circular element, thereby creating a loop between the half-sphere and the circle.

This work, among González’s most abstract, contains some anthropomorphic elements.  For example, the short, pointy diagonals represent hair, and the half-covered circle, the joining together of two faces in a kiss.

González revisits here the theme of the amorous encounter, signified by the piercing of the half-sphere, emblematic of the female anatomy, by the slender cone.

Though González never officially joined any artistic movement, a surrealist influence can be felt here.  This movement sought to free creation from the constraints of “civilized” society, and to connect with the uninhibited thoughts and desires of the unconscious.  According to Freud’s psychoanalytical theory, influential for surrealists, dreams were one way to access these impulses.  The reference to the dream in this work’s title, and its abstracted depiction of a sexual encounter, are to be understood in this context.

“The Dream/The Kiss” demonstrates the affinities between González’s work of the early 1930s and that of Swiss artist and fellow Montparnasse resident Alberto Giacometti.  Giacometti’s “Homme et femme (Man and woman)”, 1928-29, displays the same sexual thrust and illustrates his experimentation with space and mass as “transparent constructions”, as González explored “draw[ing] in space” with iron.