Murphy and I both agree that surrealism is the shit, but I’ll be quick to admit I really don’t know much about it; mostly I just appreciated the Dali posters I had on my walls in university, particularly when I was all fucked up. If there’s one thing this trip is about, of course, it’s education, so no time like the present to learn more about the movement:
“Dictated by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.” I can dig that.
Right out of the gates there’s a lot of new info. I was under the impression surrealism was focused around painting, but it seems like it really kicked off among poets first, later spreading into art, film, and other mediums. Also interesting that Dali seems to be more of a household name than the others involved but apparently he wasn’t one of the pioneers.
Man Ray is a sweet name, I’d never heard of the guy but some of his work is featured later in the exhibit, and is my favourite part.
Max Ernst, Chimera, 1928
The first title is metal af, sounds like a song by The Sword
Some works from the Dada movement pioneer Francis Picabia
Francis Picabia: Sphinx, 1929, oil on canvas, 131 × 163 cm
Francis Picabia: Salicis, 1929, paint, fibreboard, 157 × 90 cm
These are from Spanish artist Joan Miró
In the middle of the exhibit is a screen playing clips from the film mentioned above, Un Chien Andalou. Although the clips were only a very small part of the film, they were mindblowing, especially for something from the twenties. Trippy as hell, stuff like eyeballs getting sliced open with razor blades, ants crawling out of holes in a guy’s hand, a cameo by a death’s-head hawkmoth (of Silence of the Lambs fame), a crowd of men bustling around a severed hand on the ground, just really mad shit that’s so much different from my preconceived notions of film from that era. There are several versions of it on YouTube, here’s one that seems pretty good.
They’ve got some original Dali’s in here. That’s badass.
“Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening”, Dali, 1944.
Although I didn’t have this one, I’ve seen it on many a dorm room wall. And what a doozy of a name.
“The Rotting Donkey” – Dali, 1928
“Putrefaction became a cornerstone of Dali’s painting and thinking in the late 1920s and constitutes one of the cruellest and most fascinating elements of the film Un chien andalou, which he made in 1929 with Luis Bunuel.”
Salvador Dali: Invisible Lion, Horse, Sleeping Woman, 1930, Oil on canvas, 127.5 × 165.6 cm
“Partial Hallucination: Six Apparitions of Lenin on a Piano” – Dali, 1931
Don’t believe I’d ever seen this one before, but meh, it’s no melting clock thing, am I right?
Moving into some René Magritte pieces
René Magritte: The Red Model, 1934, Oil on Canvas, 183 x 136 cm
René Magritte: The Secret Double (Le Double secret), 1927, Oil on canvas, 114 × 161.9 cm
A couple of Pierre Roy pieces with either giant glasses of wine or tiny castles
Pierre Roy: Summer of St. Michael, 1932, oil on canvas, 33 × 65 cm, Center Pompidou
Pierre Roy: A Day in the Countryside, 1932, oil on canvas, 33 × 55 cm, Center Pompidou
“Steamboat Bojack Horseman”
There’s a wall with bios from the major players
Pullin off that stache.
“Breton, however, felt these new allegiances and publication threatened his authority. On 11 March 1929, at a surrealist meeting on Rue du Chateau, Grand Jeu was put under accusation and expelled from the group.” The idea of rival gangs of 1920s Parisian surrealists having turf wars is … well… surreal.
They have a collection of Surrealism journals that circulated in the 1920s, the Juxtapoz of the times
These guys and their competing periodicals, am I rite
Oh here we gooooo… Surrealist Erotica section?
“Man and Woman” – Alberto Giacometti, 1928 (as seen on PornHub.com)
A hilarious little erotic ditty (I think humour was the intention but I’m not certain), I’ll leave it untranslated but as with some of the previous material it goes beyond what I would expect to see in print from this era. I’m not sure whether it’s my own naivete, or maybe it’s a European vs. North American thing?
Man Ray was mentioned earlier… Here’s the exhibit’s piece de resistance, “Mr. and Mrs. Woodman”:
There were over a dozen of these beauties. Man Ray got chuckles from both of us, reminiscent of Team America, but I didn’t notice any of the other museum guests laughing.
Overall, a great exhibit. Feeling a bit more cultured we scope out the gift shop and they’ve got some great swag, Murphy picks up a couple things, and we make our way outside to check out the other sites on this ridge, and boy, they do not disappoint…