Art Surrealism: Desire Unbound

ISBN 13: 9780691123363

Surrealism: Desire Unbound

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9780691123363: Surrealism: Desire Unbound

The surrealist leader André Breton described desire as the "only master that man must recognize." One of surrealism's defining themes, desire was expressed variously in Dali's charged landscapes, Miró's lyric abstractions, and Bellmer's unsettling nudes. Influenced by Freud, the surrealists saw sexual desire as a path to self-knowledge--"a theatre of provocations and prohibitions in which life's most profound urges confront one another."


Published to accompany a major transatlantic exhibition of international surrealism, this lavishly illustrated catalogue explores desire in surrealist art in both words and images. Key works by such artists as Duchamp, Magritte, Ernst, Dali, de Chirico, Giacometti, Bellmer, Oppenheim, and Cahun are illustrated and discussed, as are surrealist films and photographs by Man Ray, Brassaï, and others. The volume also features some of the rare and beautiful books produced by the surrealists in their celebration of love, as well as a selection of fascinating manuscripts, letters, and documentary photographs that reveal the personal contexts of the group's exploration of desire. Essays by leading scholars show how the theme of desire was implicated in almost all aspects of surrealist activity--not only its art and writings, but also its political struggles and its ethical stances on issues involving individual liberty and the social control of sexuality.


This attractive and provocative volume illustrates a vision of desire that embraces both sublime exaltation and dark carnality. It shows the unprecedented intensity with which the surrealists extolled love and the extent to which they depicted desire as implicated in every thought, action, event, and encounter. A major contribution to surrealist studies, this volume is edited by Jennifer Mundy, and has contributions from Dawn Ades, Katharine Conley, Neil Cox, Carolyn J. Dean, Hal Foster, Vincent Gille, Jean-Michel Goutier, David Hopkins, Radovan Ivsic, Julia Kelly, Annie Le Brun, David Lomas, and Alyce Mahon.


EXHIBITION SCHEDULE



Tate Modern, London
September 20, 2001-January 1, 2002



The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
February 6, 2002-May 12, 2002

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Review:

Surrealism: Desire Unbound is not only a wonderfully produced catalog to accompany the Tate Modern's excellent surrealism exhibition but also a compelling addition to surrealist studies in its own right. As lavishly illustrated as you could hope for (no fewer than 300 color illustrations), the book really owes its strength to the quality of the essays, which come from some of the best art historians around. Professor Dawn Ades, the consultant editor, contributes "Surrealism, male-female," which builds on themes of sexuality and the notion of the fluidity of the category of gender so important to the surrealists, which she (and others, see particularly Surrealism and Women) has previously addressed elsewhere; her book on Marcel Duchamp, a constant reference point for so much modern art, is particularly good. Hal Foster (well known for his argument that the 1990s saw the return to bodies and spaces in art in his thought-provoking The Return of the Real) adds a superb essay on the objectification and fetishization of women within surrealist photography. David Lomas walks us through the influence of Freud (arguably the first theorist of desire and psychoanalysis) on surrealism, and Annie Le Brun rounds off the book with a look at the invention of desire by surrealism and its adoption by modernity. Desire, as a category and as an impetus, compelled much of the art and thinking of the surrealists, and this excellent volume does much to explore and problematize the issues surrounding sex, gender, and identity (the subtitle of the essential Women in Dada, which should certainly be consulted when broaching these issues) that obsessed these important artists and their often iconic art. This is a big, beautiful, and bold book that does the surrealists proud. --Mark Thwaite, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

Jennifer Mundy is a Curator at the Tate. Dawn Ades is Professor of Art History and Theory at the University of Essex. Vincent Gille works at the Pavillon des Arts, Paris.

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Editorial: Princeton University Press (2005)
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Editorial: Princeton University Press (2005)
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