Home » Exhibitions » Surrealism as a collective phenomenon

Surrealism as a collective phenomenon

November 26, 08/ January 11, 09

Surrealism as a Collective Phenomenon is an exhibition featuring works from the Granell Foundation’s International Surrealist Art collection.
It highlights the idea of Surrealism’s importance as an avant-garde that creates a new concept of collective authorship, and that maintains today a relational context, in the case of the movement’s artists, similar to the classic structure of historical avant-garde groups of artists.
Since 2005, the Granell Foundation has hosted several exhibitions devoted to surrealist groups in different countries around the world, such as the Chilean group Derrame, Canada’s West Coast, the international surrealist expression platform Sonámbula, or the Leeds Surrealist Group in Britain. The exhibition explores the Foundation’s extensive surrealist art and documentation collection, which represents, in works and artists, all the movement’s genealogy down to the present.
The exhibition, by means of works by present-day surrealist artists and miscellaneous documentation such as magazines, fanzines…, testifies to the strong group identity that characterises past and present surrealist artists.
The structure of the exhibition can be divided into three parts. In the first room, there is a selection of joint works. Two book-object works, by a group of more than seventy Spanish artists, stand out in this room. We can also see a series of surrealism’s best-known collective works: those resulting from the well-known Exquisite Corpse game. Another room introduces us to the complexity and validity of the only historical avant-garde movement that has survived from the twentieth century: surrealism, by means of a selection of its group publications: surrealist magazines. The surrealist magazine is an essential tool for plastic and literary creators, both as a valid forum in which to debate ethical and aesthetic ideas, and as a showcase and dissemination system for their works, and sometimes also as the only means of publication for their creations. By means of the selected bibliography, the spectator can explore the history of surrealism from its birth in the twenties (including mythical magazines Surrealist Revolution and Minotaur) to the present. Visitors will also be able to browse the latest publications, still in print, and discover the independent Spanish publishing company Menú, which has a special relationship with surrealism. The Menú publishing company was created in 1986 by Juan Carlos Valera, who acts as its Editor and Director. The publishing company’s peculiarity, apart from being an entirely personal and unique project, lies in publishing poetry in both its classic literary format and as a poem-object, a plastic version of the poetic expression that surrealists are so fond of; another characteristic is its being a permanent space for hosting the creations of surrealist names such as Cruceiro Seixas, Mario Cesarini, Eugenio Granell… or well-known figures associated with the movement’s aesthetics such as Joan Brossa or Fernando Arrabal. The last room displays a series of present-day surrealist works in different formats and means of plastic expression, such as video, music, illustration, assemblage, objet trouvé, photography, ceramics, poem-object…, made by artists belonging to surrealist groups in different parts of the world.
The selection also features works by artists that are not members of any surrealist group but whose works identify them with such aesthetics: such as Galicia’s Xesús Carballido, whose work involves one of surrealism’s most common praxis, the assemblage and the collage (he held an individual exhibition of his work in the Granell Foundation during 1997), or the young French artist Maria Chenut, whose work is closely linked to the aesthetic idea defining the poetics of the object in surrealism: the objet trouvé.
The exhibition is curated by Monse Cea, the Granell Foundation’s Assistant Director.
Documentation: María Pita, Eugenio Granell Foundation librarian.