Past exhibition

Subversion of Images – Surrealism, Photography, Film

27.02.–23.05.2010

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The Surrealist avant-garde considered itself to be a revolutionary countermovement to the bourgeois system of values. Through new imagery, they investigated existence during the interwar period, a time of great social and political instability, and they deconstructed received ways of seeing and thinking through various artistic strategies. Photography seemed to best fulfill the Surrealists’ needs as their medium of choice. Subversion of Images –Surrealism, Photography, and Film is an extraordinarily rich survey of Surrealist photography. The exhibition comprises over 400 photographs, films, and documents: from very famous photographs by Man Ray, Hans Bellmer, Claude Cahun, Raoul Ubac, Jacques-André Boiffard, and Maurice Tabard to unknown pictures, to magazine publications, artist’s books, advertisements, to fascinating “raw, found documents,” to photo booth photographs, and group portraits of the Surrealists.

Each of the exhibition’s nine chapters focuses on a central topic of Surrealist photography. “Collective Action,” for example, follows the Surrealists’ many collective activities, their playful, yet also serious usage of snapshots and photo booth photographs. “Nonsense Theater” reveals the sensual, erotic, and sarcastic mises en scène, the enjoyment of the almost absurd miniature choreography between illusion and reality. “The Real, the Accidental, the Marvelous” deals with how the surreal is hidden in and reveals itself within reality, how “voices” resound in the night and from the walls of Paris. “Scopophilia” displays the exciting, close observation of something, until that which is familiar becomes isolated and appears strange.

The exhibition was curated by Quentin Bajac, Clément Chéroux, Guillaume Le Gall, Philippe-Alain Michaud, and Michel Poivert. A cooperation with the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Mapfre Foundation, Madrid.

Main sponsors: Swiss Re, Vontobel-Stiftung

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