Surrealism Beyond Borders | Stepping Into A Worldly Unknown
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Surrealism Beyond Borders | Stepping Into A Worldly Unknown

February 23, 2022 Share



A telephone receiver is morphing into a lobster. A train is rushing from a fireplace. These are the images commonly associated with Surrealism. 

When I stepped into the maze of unworldly unconscious experiences, I felt butterflies liftoff, and my senses tingle at the sight of the famous lobster phone devised by Salvador Dali. 

I knew then that I had entered a portal to freedom, an act of defiance and a willingness to be brave.

Surrealism is an art movement started by French writer Andre Breton in the 1920s. He was interested in things like dreams, fantasies and thoughts in our minds that we didn’t even know we were having. 

Lobster Telephone By Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Dorothea Manning explored these ideas by creating surrealist art. 

Today there are two main types of Surrealism – one that comes through our dreams whereby we combine two objects you wouldn’t expect to see together, and the other stems from automatism.

I found compelling about the exhibition that it lent away from just showcasing mainstream Surrealists such as Salvador Dali.

They were a collective body of participants working together in response to political or social concerns. 

Surrealism Beyond Borders, installation view. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, Anna Marie Kellen.

From Paris at the Bureau of Surrealist Research; to Cairo, with the Art et Liberté group; across the Caribbean, where writers initiated the movement; in Mexico City, where the creative bonds of women artists shaped it; and Chicago, where Surrealism was used as a tool for radical statements. 

It did not travel; it flowed. Today, the idea of being surreal has become so ‘normal’ – whatever that is.

The rooms were drenched in alternating maroon and bright blue colours that filled the walls to highlight the stand-out absurdity next to its paralleled usual grey and white ones.

Installation view Surrealism Beyond Borders Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, Anna Marie Kellen Photo credit: Anna-Marie Kellen/MET

The Guardian says that the event, “co-produced by Tate Modern and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Surrealism Beyond Borders is filled with unlikely conjunctions and unsettling objects, Freudian dreamworlds, nightmares and fantasies.”

So surreal, so predictable.

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