Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Exhibitions

Invisible Revealed: Surrealist Drawings from the Drukier Collection
  • Invisible Revealed: Surrealist Drawings from the Drukier Collection
  • 02-Apr-2005 - 05-Jun-2005
  • Kress Gallery, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
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Description

How do artists respond to the devastation and turmoil of global conflict? In the wake of the First World War, one answer is found in the intensely psychological compositions of the Surrealists, whose work often entertains the interior realms of private thought and dream. Invisible Revealed: Surrealist Drawings from the Drukier Collection offers an opportunity to explore the Surrealist world. Curated by the Johnson Museum's senior curator of prints, drawings, and photographs, Nancy E. Green, Invisible Revealed presents nearly 150 intimate works of art on paper by the leading proponents of the international movement in art and literature known as Surrealism. Surrealism offered an alternative to the rational thinking that had culminated in the tragic events of the First World War. The exhibition includes many examples of Surrealist artists' fascination with dream, imagination, and chance. Among the exhibited artists are Jean Arp, Hans Bellmer, Victor Brauner, André Breton, Giorgio De Chirico, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Léonor Fini, Wilfredo Lam, René Magrittte, Man Ray, André Masson, Roberto Matta, Francis Picabia, Kurt Seligmann, Yves Tanguy, and Dorothea Tanning. A full color catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Given the failure of logic and rationality to solve Europe's political crises, and the enormous loss of life that ensued in the course of WWI, it seems only reasonable that many artists turned their attention to the illogical and the irrational. A case in point is the exercise in collaborative drawing known as the Cadavre Exquis ( Exquisite Corpse ), originally a children's game in which one participant would write a word, fold over the written portion of the page, and pass it on to the next participant. Unfolding the results of such play produced the classic example "The exquisite/ corpse/ will drink/ new/ wine." The Surrealists applied the game to the act of drawing and produced images of impossible creatures with elephant heads, claw arms, and feet clad in high heels.

Invisible Revealed offers an intimate approach to an understanding of Surrealism. As Charles Stuckey writes in his essay for the exhibition catalogue, "Instead of the primary emphasis on hand-to-eye coordination at issue in traditional drawing, Surrealist graphics stress hand-to-mind coordination. The rationale for Surrealist drawing techniques, whether impulsive or studied, is to make imaginary realms more legible." The confident yet unpredictable lines of an automatist drawing by Roberto Matta, the surprising patterns found in a frottage (rubbing) by Max Ernst, and the juxtapositions of unlikely subject matter in collages by Breton demonstrate a shared interest in making the unconscious visible.

Organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University. Programming for this exhibition is supported in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The Breidenthal-Snyder Foundation generously supports the Spencer Museum of Art venue.



Exhibition and catalogue organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, curated by Nancy E. Green, senior curator of prints, drawings, and photographs. The Spencer Museum of Art venue is generously supported by the Breidenthal-Snyder Foundation, the Murphy Lecture Fund, the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Invisible Revealed includes nearly 150 intimate works of art on paper by the leading proponents of the international movement in art and literature known as Surrealism. Surrealism, which evolved during the years between the world wars, offered an alternative to the rational thinking that had recently culminated in the tragic events of the First World War. The exhibition includes many examples of Surrealist artists’ fascination with dream, imagination, and chance. Among the exhibited artists are Jean Arp, Hans Bellmer, Victor Brauner, André Breton, Giorgio De Chirico, Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Léonor Fini, Wilfredo Lam, René Magrittte, Man Ray, André Masson, Roberto Matta, Francis Picabia, Kurt Seligmann, Yves Tanguy, and Dorothea Tanning. The exhibition was organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, and curated by the Johnson Museum’s senior curator of prints, drawings, and photographs, Nancy E. Green. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Attendance: 10,071