By Bill Lasarow
October 2012

“Fumage was among the arsenal of techniques used in classic Surrealism to help get the juices of the sub-conscious mind going. The random imprint of smoke from a combustible object such as a candle would be applied to a painting surface so the artist could let their imagination roam. Like Jean Arp’s dropped strings, Max Ernst’s frottage, or the automatism of André Masson, fumage offers a random but distinct starting point. Historically these techniques are firmly rooted in Dada and Surrealism; aesthetically they enabled artists to focus on the process of the interplay between painting and imagination free from the pre-planned image. As earlier formal innovations gave artists permission to bring painting back to the two-dimensional surface, these innovations represented the decisive overturning of a pictorial hierarchy that the Impressionists and Symbolists had only begun.”

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