The disquiet captured in the artwork of Unica Zürn seems to flow from the same source as her depression, which led to repeated internment in psychiatric clinics. The artist’s mental problems accompanied her off and on throughout her long relationship with Hans Bellmer, up to her suicide in 1970. From the first time they met in 1953, the German artist saw Zürn as having the vitality that could bring his macabre, mangled dolls to life; several of his photographs – Unica Tied Up (1957) – show Zürn’s naked body bound with ropes that deform her flesh. At the same time, Zürn created a vast body of work that alternated or combined language and figuration: anagrammatic poems based on recombining the same group of letters, like Hexen Texte (1954), and restless, obsessive drawings that provided a release for her neuroses. Zürn’s dense compositions depict a dream world filled with monstrous creatures; the mark that defines them is as evanescent as a hallucination, and their features – eyes and lips, above all – are fragmented, repeated, and superimposed. As evidenced by La Mort de Kennedy (1964), the images are often flanked or completed by anguished bits of powerfully poetic writing. This writing heightens the tension of the drawings and reveals the gravity of Zürn’s inner conflict.