The International Society for the Study of Surrealism organized its second conference entitled Surrealisms at the University of Exeter, between 29–31 August. This is going to be a blog entry about some major moments of the conference, from a rather subjective point of view.
Exeter was chosen as the location of this conference partly because of the 1967 Surrealist exhibition called The Enchanted Domain, featuring artists such as Patrick Hughes, E.L.T. Mesens and Roland Penrose. Patrick Hughes was also part of the current conference programme – in a dialogue with Krzysztof Fijalkowski he recalled his early connections with Surrealist artists, but also offered some instances of Surrealist performance to the conference audience. This event certainly offered some of the most memorable moments of the conference.
More than 120 papers were presented at the conference – a great variety of art history and literary history presentations showed that the international dimensions of Surrealism still have or rather increasingly have a relevance in the domain of avant-garde studies. An important amount of papers presenting women Surrealists, Surrealist periodicals and Surrealist exhibiting practices highlighted some dynamic and emerging research areas concerning Surrealism.
For me, the conference offered great opportunities to go beyond the surface as far as the works of some internationally known Surrealist artists are concerned, to discover new artists (like Sari Dienes for example) or to hear presentations of academics and artists I have only met through their books before. Also to collect new ideas for future research, of course. Well done, ISSS!