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July/August 2011
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The Colour of My Dreams:
The Surrealist Revolution in Art
Vancouver Art Gallery, until 25 September
VANCOUVER, BC.THE MOST comprehensive exhibition of Surrealist art ever to be shown in this country will open at the Vancouver Art Gallery on May 28, 2011. The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art features 350 works by leading Surrealist artists,
including André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, Leonora Carrington, Brassaï, André Masson, Man Ray, Edith Rimmington, Wifredo Lam and many others.

Guest curated by Dawn Ades, internationally renowned expert on Surrealist art, The Colour of My Dreams will be shown exclusively at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Ades has selected works of art that underscore the Surrealists’ radical sense of experimentation and the expansive range of mediums in which they worked, including painting, sculpture, collage, photography and film. The exhibition provides a stunning overview of one of most important movements of the 20th century and features a number of signature works by
more than 80 artists including Dali’s Lobster Telephone, Ernst’s The Forest, Miró’s Photo: This is the Colour of My Dreams, Giacometti’s Spoon Woman, Carrington’s The House Opposite and Man Ray’s Emak-Bakia, among many others. It will also reveal, for the first time, the Surrealists’ passionate interest in indigenous art of the Pacific Northwest and the little-known influence of early Hollywood cinema on the development of Surrealist film.

This historic exhibition brings together loans from more than sixty of the world.’s foremost private collections, museums and galleries, including the Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia,
the Israel Museum, the Musée du quai Branly, the Centre Georges Pompidou, and Tate. “This is an unprecedented exhibition that was four years in the making,” said Gallery director Kathleen Bartels, .“So many of the investigations done by the Surrealist artists
continue to reverberate in contemporary art. We are delighted to have the opportunity to share the masterpieces of this tremendously influential movement with Canada, and - especially – to tell the story of Surrealism.’s special relationship with British Columbia and
this part of the world.”

André Breton wrote the first Manifesto of Surrealism in 1924, launching a movement which continues to exert a powerful influence. Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s own investigations, Breton was fascinated by dreams and set out to create an artistic process which would tap directly into the unconscious mind and dreams freeing artists from what he saw as “false rationality.”

The installation of the exhibition is designed to create a variety of environments and moods in which to contemplate the themes that the Surrealists explored over a period of three decades such as desire, androgyny, violence and transmutation. The exhibition also
highlights the many techniques developed by Surrealist artists including automatism, frottage, fumage, Rayographs and ‘the surrealist object,’ an approach to sculpture in which several unrelated components.—most often found objects.—were joined together.

.“Visitors to the exhibition will be immersed in the radical spirit of Surrealism,.” said guest curator Dawn Ades. .“This was a movement which was revolutionary in its time and hugely expansive in ambition. The Colour of My Dreams showcases the depth and breadth of the Surrealists.’ provocative vision, and explores areas that have been virtually unexplored in the past.”

The Colour of My Dreams brings to light for the first time in an exhibition the Surrealists’ fascination with First Nations art. Breton and some of his colleagues felt European culture was in total decay in the decade preceding World War II, leading many of the Surrealist artists to develop a passionate, if complex, interest in indigenous ceremonial art, including that of the Pacific Northwest. The Surrealists were drawn to the “authentic” quality, inventiveness of form and visual brilliance of First Nations art. Some of the movement’s members collected, wrote about and even exhibited their own work alongside First Nations art from British Columbia and Alaska. Included in the exhibition are a number of spectacular masks and other First Nations pieces such a Kwakwaka ’wakw headdress from Alert Bay, British Columbia, which once belonged to Breton; two Alaskan Yup.’ik masks acquired by Enrico Donati; and a sketchbook by Robert Lebel depicting First Nations masks. This important component of the exhibition also highlights, through a selection of never-before-exhibited documentary photographs, the seminal trip made to British Columbia and Alaska in the late 1930s by artist Kurt Seligmann.

Another ground-breaking aspect of The Colour of My Dreams is an examination of the little-known influence of early cinema on the development and evolution of Surrealist film -- perhaps one of the most influential legacies of the movement. The exhibition reveals
the formative early films that captured the Surrealists’ imagination -- ranging from F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu to Betty Boop cartoons to Hollywood movies featuring Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Displayed throughout the various galleries of the exhibition, nearly 30
films reveal the provocative nature of Surrealist filmmaking and its antecedents.
René Magritte. The Six Elements, 1929. oil on canvas. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950. Estate of René Magritte / SODRAC (2010)
André Masson. Ophelia, 1937 oil on canvas. Baltimore Museum of Art. Bequest of Sadie A. May.  © Estate of André Masson / SODRAC (2011)
Salvador Dalí and Edward James. Lobster Telephone, 1938. painted plaster, telephone. The Edward James Trust © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí/SODRAC (2011)
Kurt Seligmann . Melusine and The Great Transparents, 1943  oil, tempera on canvas  The Art Institute of Chicago.  Mary and Earle Ludgin Collection.  © 2011 Orange County Citizens Foundation / SODRAC
Max Ernst . The Forest, 1923  oil on canvas  Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950  © Estate of Max Ernst / SODRAC (2010)
André Masson . The Landscape of Wonders (Paysage aux prodiges), 1935 . oil on canvas . Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Bequest, Richard S. Zeisler, 2007. . © Estate of Andé Masson / SODRAC (2011)
Louise Bourgeois . Untitled, 1947–49  bronze, painted white and blue, and stainless steel. Courtesy of Cheim & Read and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Christopher Burke
Enrico Donati . Fist, 1946. bronze and glass. Collection of Rowland Weinstein, Courtesy of Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco. Photo: Nick Pishvanov
Kwakwaka’wakw . Ya_x_wiwe’ (Peace dance headdress), c.1922  maple, abalone, paint, cloth, ermine fur, sea lion whiskers. Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery
Giorgio de Chirico . Le cerveau de l'enfant [Child's Brain], 1914  oil on canvas . Moderna Museet, Stockholm  © Estate of Giorgio de Chirico/SODRAC
Joan Miró . Shooting Star, 1938  oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Joseph H. Hazen 1970.36.1
Max Ernst . Pietà or Revolution by Night, 1923 oil on canvas Tate, Purchased 1981 © Estate of Max Ernst/SODRAC (2011). Photo: Tate, London/Art Resource, NY