Surrealism: A Conversation

2 March - 12 May 2018

Olivier Malingue is pleased to announce its forthcoming exhibition, Surrealism: A Conversation, which will run from 2 March – 12 May 2018.


 Surrealism: A Conversation will provide unprecedented access to a collection of rare and iconic pieces of modern art, showing works by some of the most significant figures within the Surrealist movement, including Jean Arp, Salvador Dalí, Óscar Domínguez, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Roberto Matta and Yves Tanguy. The exhibition will cover the period between 1923 and the early 1960s, and will seek to reaffirm the overarching influence that the Surrealist movement had on the development not only of modern art but the broader cultural climate, in the latter decades of the 20th century.  


 Surrealism: A Conversation will reflect the Surrealist movement’s highly structured, theoretical doctrine, as well as the world-view of surrealist artists, whose guiding principle was the understanding of the canvas as a window into another reality, a space to free one’s unconscious. Its agenda, outlined in André Breton’s 1924 Surrealist manifesto, had its origins in Freud’s analysis of the unconscious and the realm of dreams and this reverberated in the works created by the group members.


 The exhibition will create a dialogue between very individual yet characteristically surrealist works, each offering a glimpse into the visionary worlds of its artist. Jean Arp, Victor Brauner, Salvador Dalí, Óscar Domínguez, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Roberto Matta and Yves Tanguy feature in the show, not only because at different stages they were involved with Breton’s circle, but also because of their eagerness to unravel the concepts of reality on canvas. 


 Olivier Malingue said: “Having already had the privilege of staging Brauner, Matta and Ernst shows in Paris, it is an even greater pleasure for me to now showcase these important Surrealist works in London. To arrange them in dialogue in this way allows the works to speak not just to each other but to the viewer, highlighting the theories of collective thought inherent in the Surrealist movement – which is, to me, key to grasping the continuing relevance of this groundbreaking cultural movement.” 


 Surrealism: A Conversation will include testimony of the collaboration between surrealist visual artists, poets and literary figures through a selection of Cadavre Exquis, the notorious game whereby different artists drew a single section of a body before folding the paper to conceal their work and handing it to the next artist to fill in the following section. The playing of the game itself – and the inclusion of four of these works in the exhibition - emphasises the values of collaboration and co-creation held dear by the surrealist group.  


 Focused on works that were the outcome of a revolutionary, collaborative artistic effort, the exhibition has been meticulously curated by Olivier Malingue to provide an insight into the relationships between the individual artists, as well as the shared philosophical, cultural and political convictions which contributed to Surrealism becoming one of the most significant artistic movements of the 20th century.