Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



The Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme was an exhibition by surrealist artists that took place from January 17th to February 24th 1938 in the generously equipped Galérie Beaux-Arts, run by Georges Wildenstein, at 140, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. It was organised by the French writer André Breton, the surrealists’ brain and theorist, and Paul Éluard, the best known poet of the movement. The catalogue listed, along with the above, Marcel Duchamp as curator, Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst as technical advisers, Man Ray as head lighting technician and Wolfgang Paalen as “expert for water and foliage”.

The exhibition was staged in three sections, showing paintings and objects as well as unusually decorated rooms and mannequins which had been redesigned in various ways. With this holistic presentation of surrealist art work the movement wrote exhibition history.

Works included the decorated mannequins by André Masson and Marcel Duchamp's 1200 sacks of coal suspended from the ceiling of the gallery.

Participating artists included Hans Bellmer, Denise Bellon, Joseph Breitenbach, André & Jacqueline Breton, Leonora Carrington, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dali, Oscar Dominguez, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Stanley William Hayter, Maurice Henry, Georges Hugnet, Marcel Jean, Humphrey Jennings, Man Ray, André Masson, Matta, E.L.T. Mesens, Meret Oppenheim, Wolfgang Paalen, Gaston Paris, Roland Penrose, Kurt Seligmann, Jindrich Styrsky, Yves Tanguy, Toyen, Raoul Ubac and Remedios Varo.

The most beautiful streets of Paris

From the forecourt the visitors passed into a long corridor with street signs. In the Plus belles rue de Paris artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, Man Ray, André Masson, Yves Tanguy and Wolfgang Paalen exhibited dummies, provocatively designed and dressed as sex objects and standing in front of the street signs. The sixteen figures showed surrealist motives and techniques, which consisted of concealment and revelation, and expressed captivated lust, the power of unconscious desire and the breaking of taboos.

The street signs partly referred to surrealistic obsessions and sometimes had a fictionally poetic character, but also actual street names, such as Rue Nicolas-Flamel in Paris, were also used. This name was a dedication to the mediaval alchemist Nicolas Flamel, whose works were cited by André Breton, Paul Éluard and Robert Desnos as examples of surrealistic poetry. The Surrealists owe their mission statement of the sewing machine and the umbrella on the dissection table to the writer Lautréamont, who lived in the Rue Vivienne. [18] According to Max Ernst, two or more "alien elements provoke the highest poetical lightning" when they meet on a grid which is foreign to them.[19] The Panorama Passage referred to one of the Surrealists' favorite places in Paris, the Rue de la Vielle Lanterne, in memory of the street, which no longer exists. In this street Gérard de Nerval, who, according to Breton, was the role model for the movement, committed suicide. The Porte de Lilas referred to La Closerie de Lilas - the meeting place of the intellectuals. Other street names were mystifying inventions, jlike the Rue de la Transfusion (Blood Transfusion Street) and the Rue de Tous les Diables (Devil's Street).[20]

Masson´s mannequin attracted great attention because he had squeezed its head into a bird cage covered with red fish made of celluloid. It was gagged with a ribbon made of velvet, with a pansy placed at its mouth. Underneath, red paprika caught in traps grew out of a ground of coarse saltgrains. The paprika pointed upwards to the mannequin´s genitalia, like many tiny erections. Marcel Duchamp dressed his mannequin in a man´s felt hat, shirt, tie and jacket; a red bulb blinked in the breast pocket, the lower part of the mannequin was naked - "Rose Selavy (Duchamp's alter ego) in one of her provocative and androgynous moods". Yves Tanguy draped it with phallus-like spindles, Man Ray arranged his figure with big tears and decorated its head with pitch pipes and glass balloons. Wolfgang Paalen used mushrooms and moss to give his mannequin an overgrown look, and added a giant vampire-like bat; Óscar Domínguez placed an enormous Siphon at the side of his mannequin. Out of the siphon an abundant jet of drapery was fired out. At the feet of his "Black Widow", Max Ernst set a man with a lion head, lying on the floor and sprinkled with paint. He intended to place a glowing bulb in her underwear, exposed by her pulled-up skirt, but Breton prevented this. Only at second glance were the visitors able to realise that they were looking at "artificial" women.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools