There’s an exciting New Surrealism exhibit at Mirus Gallery curated by Paul Hemming, opening Saturday, June 8th, and, taking part in the Yerba Buena Gallery Walk this weekend. Paul has put together really quite a superb group of contemporary artists working in the surreal genre for this show. Dreamtime: New Surrealism considers how how concepts about the unimagined and the fantastic have developed over time, and the artists featured in the show represent a range of artists working in the Surrealist tradition, from Pop Surrealism to Postmodern appropriation of surrealistic imagery.
Coining the term “surrealism,” almost 100 years ago, the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire, named “surrealism” as realism beyond reality, “sur – real.” And after the turn of the last century, Surrealism was officially founded, when André Breton wrote Le Manifeste du Surréalisme. In it, he 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.” In this, he proposed that artists should seek access to their unconscious mind in order to make art inspired by this realm.
The original Surrealists were seeking a reprieve from the violence of war and investigating the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud – many themselves underwent psychoanalysis, seeking to access their subconscious in order to make art inspired and unlocked by the imagined and the unreal. A century later many artists continue to use fantastical imagery rooted in dreamscapes to relate to the realities of the increasingly fragmented, global, and at times senseless world we live in.
I wonder, are journeys into surrealism today that much more fertile for artists with the world itself so much more fantastic? Or do you believe that we as humans have the same potential for imagination as we always did?
Links of interest:
Origins of Surrealism, Art History Archive
Comparison of Dada and Surrealism, Art History Unstuffed
(editor’s note: the images shown here are from the individual artists’ various sites and collections online and as of this publication we do not know the actual artwork to be shown at the exhibition.)
Dreamtime: New Surrealism considers how this approach has developed over time, changing to meet the aesthetic tastes of contemporary artists, yet rooted in an essentially similar practice of delving into the subconscious to reinterpret perceptions of reality. The artists featured in the show represent a range of artists working in the Surrealist tradition, from Pop Surrealism to Postmodern appropriation of surrealistic imagery. Artists work featured at the exhibit include: Scott Anderson, Ebenezer Archer, NoMe Edonna, Joseba Eskubi, Christine Gray, Joe Hengst, Marcus Jansen, D’Metrius Rice, Kate Shaw, Er ling Sjovold, Marlene Steyn, Alex Stursberg, Michael Zansy, and Zio Ziegler.
One can’t help but be impressed at the breadth and range of the artists brought together for this exhibition, an amazing journey through the 21st century version of what’s beyond real. A definite exhibit to catch if you are taking part in the Yerba Buena Gallery Walk this weekend.