Surrealism (1945 - 1954)
Following her early period of representational work, Bongé entered a period of subjective, Surrealist experimentation. In fact, as early as 1938, Bongé had begun to experiment with Surrealism and eventually worked in that style for over a decade.
The Surrealists believed in the power of the unconscious to unlock artistic imagination and they thought the rational mind only repressed this imagination. Their creative approach was to forgo conscious thought, embrace chance, tap into human emotion and desire, and use fantasy or dream imagery.
Bongé fully explored the highly subjective and dream-like juxtapositions of unrelated elements that sprang from her irrational, subconscious mind. And like many other artists working in this style she explored her own recurring motifs, initially inspired by images of the “Circus”.
Bongé created a whole series of works we now refer to as the Circus Series. Perhaps inspired by its inherently surreal qualities, the circus offered very rich subject matters for her to experiment with in her work, whether in color, composition, or content. She was particularly interested in portraying the circus as they were setting up, finding the raising of the big tent and the related activities much more intriguing than the rehearsed spectacle of the big show.
Then throughout the early 1950s, her Surrealist style continued to evolve as she began her depictions of what she uniquely called “Keyhole People.” These were mostly attenuated figures with an abstracted humanoid shape and posture, and identifiable by the, often single, "keyhole" or eye in the face of the figure. Eventually this work became totally abstract.