Surrealism: The Poetry of Dreams Exhibition at GoMA

Surrealism: Poetry of Dreams at GoMA
Surrealism: Poetry of Dreams at GoMA

I’ve been meaning to go and see the Surrealism exhibition at GoMA but it wasn’t until my friend mentioned catching up that we decided to spend a day checking it out since it’s in its last week. Please excuse the low res photos, I only had my phone with me ^^;.

I will admit going into this that I knew little about the history, artists and philosophy of Surrealism. What I discovered was that the movement came about in response to Dadaism which focused on intentional irrationality and the rejection of the standards of art. Surrealism took a different direction, focusing more on the creativity that spurred from the unconscious mind. The movement originally started off as a literary one before spreading to painting, sculpture and film.

The main founder André Breton wrote the Surrealist Manifesto which defined Surrealism as

“Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express — verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner — the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.”

Breton was considered the leader of the Surrealist movement and from what I’ve read had an uncanny ability of meeting artists and getting them to join the movement. It had a sort of cult vibe going on. Other artists that kept popping up throughout the exhibition included Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Dora Marr, Rene Magritte, Man Ray, Andre Masson, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso and Yves Tanguy.

Below are some of  some of my favourite artworks from the exhibition.

Max Ernst - Chimère, 1928
Max Ernst – Chimère, 1928
Rene Magritte - Madame Recamier of David, 1967
René Magritte – Madame Recamier of David, 1967. Based off Magritte’s earlier paintings of others work, replacing the subjects with coffins
Francis Picabia - Femmes au Bull-Dog, 1940
Francis Picabia – Femmes au Bull-Dog, 1940
Andre Masson - Portrait of Andre Breton, 1941 c
Andre Masson – Portrait of Andre Breton, 1941c. Both my friend and I instantly recognised Breton from this image
Judit Reigl - Flambeau de noces chimiques, 1954
Judit Reigl – Flambeau de noces chimiques, 1954. Judit’s involvement with the Surrealist movement was short because she ventured into Abstraction

Half way through the exhibition there was an ‘interactive area’ that focused on the literary and magazine publications involved with the surrealist movement. There were touch screens that allowed you to peruse the Minotaure publications which were pretty interesting. Shame it was all written in French though.

Surrealism Interactive Area
Interactive Screens for the Magazine Mintaure
Surrealism Interactive Screen with Mintaure Magazines
Interactive Screen with all of the Issues
Surrealism Interactive Screen showing pages of the Minotaure Magazine
You could zoom in closer than this to read the text
Surrealism Interactive Screen showing pages of the Minotaure
You could also scroll through all the pages and then select one instead of having to turn through every page
Surrealism interactive area with section discussing various surrealist publications
The walls discussing various surrealist publications

It didn’t seem that long but it took us nearly 3 hrs to go through the entire exhibition! So yes, it’s a pretty massive collection and I think I had information overload from all the reading of the history, philosophy and art explanations ^^;. Definitely worth checking out if you can get down there by Sunday before it closes. It’s on at GoMA and runs till the 2nd October 2011.

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