ZÜRN unica

1916 . berlin . germany

1970 . paris . france



Unica Zürn was born in a wealthy Berlin family, but the divorce of her parents forced her to leave school at the age of fifteen. In 1933, she worked first as a typist for UFA, then became a film editor and started writing. She married in 1942, divorced seven years later, the custody of her two children, born during the war, was left to the father;  she lived from writing short stories for newspapers and several radio plays. In 1953, her encounter with Hans Bellmer was capital: she left everything to follow him to Paris. Bellmer introduced her to automatic drawing and encouraged her to create drawings-anagrams (Hexentexte). Her first exhibition in Paris was held in 1956. Between 1956 and 1958, Unica Zurn drew extensively. Her hybrid plants-animals fascinate by their perpetual metamorphosis, which prevents us from capturing them or defining them. In 1960, affected by emotional difficulties she experienced (and would live to the end of her life) with Bellmer, she suffered her first hallucinatory crisis and spent the last ten years of her life in psychiatric hospitals. Despite long periods of depression, she continued to draw and write (The Man of JasmineDark SpringVacances à Maison-Blanche, etc.). She ended her life in 1970.