Le Surrealisme et l’Objet – Centre Pompidou, Paris

11 January 2014 § Leave a comment

A weekend in Paris allowed me the opportunity to visit this breathtaking exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, as well as enjoy some excellent art, interesting sights and fine food counterposed by rude service, lousy cappuchinos and overpriced coffee and bread (or petit dejeuner as the French imaginatively call it).

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp

There shouldn’t be a better place than Paris for an exhibition on Surrealism, the movement being founded here in 1924 having developed out the more international influences of Dada. The Pompidou Centre have proved that this is indeed the case, with this mightily impressive exhibition bringing together a remarkable collection of almost every conceivable iconic object or sculpture connected to the movement.

Hans Bellmer - Poupee

Hans Bellmer – Poupee

Alongside the roll call of iconic pieces like Hans Bellmer’s Poupee, Marcel Duchamp’s Bottlerack, Salvador Dali’s Lobster Telephone, Alberto Giacometti’s Suspended Ball are photographs from the likes of Man Ray, collections of works gathered plus a selection of more recent surrealist-influenced works by the likes of Mark Dion, Paul McCarthy, Ed Ruscha and Cindy Sherman exhibited under the title ‘Echoes of the Surrealist Object’.

Salvador Dali - Lobster telephone

Salvador Dali – Lobster telephone

The exhibition starts with ‘Ready-mades and Mannequins’, a section led by two great influences of the movement – Giorgio de Chirico and Marcel Duchamp who respectively brought the mannequin and object to the fore.

Alberto Giacometti - Suspended Ball

Alberto Giacometti – Suspended Ball

Subsequent rooms focus on ‘Objects with a Symbolic Function, Alberto Giacometti, Hans Bellmer’s Doll (an extraordinarily powerful object in real-life, and also larger than one imagines),  five rooms each dedicated to iconic exhibitions from the famous ‘Exposition Internationale de Surrealisme’ in 1933 to ‘Eros’ in 1959/60.

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Joan Miro

Joan Miro

Each room is well curated and nicely laid out with admirable logic, careful thought and atmospheric lighting.

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This opportunity to view so many of Surrealisms iconic objects together plus the insight in to the movement that can be gained from the experience well worth a trip to Paris on its own. Just take your own breakfast.

Meret Oppenheim

Meret Oppenheim

Le Surrealisme et l’Objet runs until the 3 March 2014 at the Pompidou Centre, Paris.

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tate programme announced for 2011

30 September 2010 § Leave a comment

The key shows for the 2011 have just been announced by the Tate. At Tate Britain Watercolour traces the medium from its beginnings, ‘through to William Blake and JMW Turner, right up to Patrick Heron and Tracey Emin.’ The exhibition starts on the 16 Feb 2011. It is interesting to have a show on an unfairly criticised and oft-neglected medium, but why is Tracey Emin there (again) when her links with watercolour are pretty tenuous and less worthy of examination than many, many other fine artists? Somebody please tell the Tate that we do not need the names of Hirst, Emin et al thrown about in order to draw us to the exhibitions.

The summer 2011 blockbuster is Joan Miró at Tate Modern. apparently the first Miró retrospective in London for over 50 years it opens on the 14 April. I shall look forward to seeing lots of his surrealistic early works, but Miro lived a long life, dying at over 90 years of age, and it will be more fascinating to assess the quality of his later work, usually regarded as inferior. Will the show provide any new insights?

Talking of surrealism Tate Liverpool shows René Magritte from 24 June to 16 October, and following, among others, Paul Nash at Dulwich and the Surreal House at the Barbican it looks like a good run for art from the subconscious. Magritte is a fascinating artist but will a whole show be just one bowler hat too many? Meanwhile how about an exhibition of the rather neglected Max Ernst sometime soon? 

The Autumn arrives with the apocalyptic destruction of John Martin on 21 September 2011, closely followed by a fascinating Gerhard Richter survey at Tate Modern on 6 October 2011. We have hardly been starved of Richter in recent years but a big show will be very welcome and will be certain to cement his position as one of the leading post-war artists.

Overall, not a bad selection and plenty to look forward to, but is it all rather safe and, dare I say ‘old-fashioned’? There are more shows yet to announce but just where are the exciting new artists? Where is the very best and latest in contemporary art? Hopefully in shows yet to be revealed but don’t hold your breath!

Incidentally the images shown above are not necessarily in the exhibitions – although I hope that they are!

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