'Images and ideas can not function separately. Photography cannot afford an iconoclasm of idea' - Frederick Sommer (CCP, Sommer: Words, p. 9)
In 1939 fascism had become a harsh reality with systematic aggression by the Nazi government in Europe. Sommer, a recently naturalized American, believed strongly that artistic expression was closely tied to emotion and experience. Creating these works in response to events in his birthplace, his personal ties gave him a unique ability to create a poetic vision of a devastating reality that no-one in America could yet fully comprehend. As a surrealist, he combined the destruction of the chicken, specifically arranging the entrails, with a beautiful photographic print surface. The surface creates a barrier for the viewer, enabling one to look at the reality of the dissected chicken, as though one is looking through a window into a horrifying nightmare. The viewer is protected but he is still a witness.
A comprehensive collection of these photographs is rare.
Images available on request.