Rearranging Surreality: Dada and Surrealism in Budapest

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(Hungarian National Gallery, 9 July – 5 October 2014)

Only a tiny number of books by André Breton have been translated into Hungarian so far (Nadja, Poisson soluble, Les champs magnétiques), and they had no real impact on Hungarian culture. Ironically, this fact can be proved also by the generous catalogue of the most important Surrealist overview to date in this country: Dada and Surrealism / Rearranged Reality. In the Hungarian text of the catalogue, Les champs magnétiques is translated as Mágneses terek several times, while the existing translation of the volume was published as A mágneses mezők. Breton is not a recurrent point of reference in Hungarian culture, although painters like Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst or René Magritte – major presences also in this catalogue — are of course well-known by the Hungarian public.

While the reception of Surrealism in Hungary still lacks precision and information, the representative exhibition of the National Gallery, organized in partnership with The Israel Museum of Jerusalem is a very important step in this direction, precisely because of its “introductory” character, that is to be felt in the selection of the exhibited works (in several cases no more than 2-3, but quite representative works by artists like, most importantly, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, also Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Hans Arp, André Masson, Roberto Matta, Victor Brauner, Wilfredo Lam, and with the participation of Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Delvaux, Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning, Marcel Jean and others), but also in the keywords that are used for the arrangement of the exhibition.

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Beyond the Black

infranoir

„Infra-noir”, un et multiple. Un groupe surréaliste entre Bucarest et Paris, 1945-1947. Dir. Monique Yaari. Peter Lang, Bern, 2014. 

A new series of books (Art and Thought: Histories of the Avant-Garde, edited by Dawn Ades and Timothy Matthews) was initiated at Peter Lang with the collective volume on the activity of the Bucharest surrealist group. It is a brave and interesting choice to begin this new series with an internationally lesser known avant-garde group, but in fact more than one third of the volume consists of an effort to increase the visibility of this very group activity by including a facsimile edition of their collective texts Continue reading