Monday, November 3, 2008

Untitled (Soap Bubble Set) 1936

Cornell's first shadow box was the Soap Bubble Set. It is often seen as a family portrait. In this interpretation, the little doll's head is Joseph, the egg symbolizes his mother, the four blocks at the top are the four Cornell children, and the pipe is his father. This fits with the future patterns of Cornell's work; he was trying to preserve a piece of the past. The unseen bubbles can have many meanings. Are they meant to recall childish innocence or perhaps the fragility of life? The glass panes that divide the compartments create a feeling of separation, but the picture of the moon behind the work reminds the viewer that all things are connected in the vastness of the universe.

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