The Subversion of Images by Paul Nougé
It is a matter of giving people and objects a use and function different from their usual ones.
First edited and published by Marcel Marien in 1968 in a limited edition of 230 copies, half a year after Paul Nougé’s death, The Subversion of Images is a miniature classic in both the photobook and surrealist canons.
It collects Nougé’s notes and photographs from 1929-30 to form a guidebook to the surrealist image. Nougé here outlines his conception of the object and the surrealist approach to it, while also offering an accompaniment to the visual work of his colleague, René Magritte, whose paintings he sometimes titled. How might a tangle of string elicit terror? How might the suppression of an object move one to sentimentality? What is the effect of a pair of gloves on a loaf of sliced bread?
Nougé’s accompanying photographs explore these notions, and feature a number of his Belgian surrealist colleagues. This translation is presented as a facsimile of the original edition, with an afterword by Xavier Canonne, director of the Musée de la Photographie.