André Breton and the Surrealism

1 october, 1991 - 2 december, 1991 /
Sabatini Building, Floor 1
Salvador Dalí. Visage du Grand Masturbateur (Face of the Great Masturbator), 1929. Painting. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Collection, Madrid
Salvador Dalí. Visage du Grand Masturbateur (Face of the Great Masturbator), 1929. Painting. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Collection, Madrid

The surrealist movement, definitely visible and theoretically debated with the publication of the Manifeste du Surréalisme (1924), written by André Breton (Tinchebray, France, 1896 - Paris, 1966) is a cosmology organised by and about Breton himself. His revolutionary pretensions, which are visible in all his publications, expositions and determinations, are understood as the will of general subversion (through action) in all areas of daily life, starting from poetry and art and moving to ethics, religion and politics. Thus, Surrealism is not only an artistic and literary expression, but a stance against the traditional values of culture and the bourgeois society and against realism in art. He supports the idea of an inner model in all creative acts, of otherness, absolute automatism (applied to poetic and artistic practice) as well as the adoption of meta-artistic methods that come from psychoanalysis, such as hypnosis, which allow the release of human consciousness and a return to a primitive and primordial state of thought.

This exhibition sets out to identify the surrealist movement with André Breton starting from the idea of his study, located in rue Fontaine in Paris, from 1924 to 1966, with a break when he has a long stay in the United States (1941-1946). In this way, not only is Breton the poet imposed, but also Breton the theorist and especially Breton the collector. Breton articulates his discourse through his vision and the layout of his works in the two spaces that make up his study (that is to say, the configuration of a place of wonder until experience), which is where he finds the linking of ideas and artistic and cultural manifestations relative to a world theorised as "supra-real" (released from a castrating consciousness). In this sense, Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, at the time of the exhibition, head curator of the Centre Georges Pompidou, asks rhetorically whether Breton "writes Le surréalisme et la peinture, between 1925 and 1927, relying mainly on the works which he has within view." It is therefore about demonstrating the relationships that exist in the confrontation of two languages, two worlds: the primitive and absolute modernity, what is desired and what is defended. On his shelves the view slides from one object to another and establishes a route, appealing to the secret provisions and the necessary shocks, ranging from masks from Gabon and New Guinea to paintings by Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí and Toyen, Alberto Giacometti's sculptures, surrealist objects by Man Ray or Óscar Domínguez, Haitian fetishes and New England totems.

As noted by Dominique Bozo, president at the time of the exhibition in Centre Georges Pompidou, "in that place [his study] the arts were liberated for the first time." The exhibition vindicates Breton’s personal studio from the relevance of his vision, as a method of approaching an artistic world governed by laws different from formal principles and which creates its own order from abundance and accumulation.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Musée National d'Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in collaboration with Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Dominique Bozo, Agnès Angliviel de la Beaumelle and Isabelle Monod-Fontaine
Exhibition Tour: 

Musée National d'Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (April 25 - August 26, 1991)

Pierre Alechinsky, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Jean Arp, Enrico Baj, Hans Bellmer, Jean Benoît, Georges Braque, Brassaï (Gyula Halász), Victor Brauner, André Breton, Elisa Breton, Jorge Camacho, Agustín Cárdenas, Leonora Carrington, Giorgio de Chirico, Aloïse Corbaz, Joseph Crepin, Salvador Dalí, Jean Degottex, André Derain, Robert Desnos, Óscar Domínguez, Enrico Donati, Dora Maar (Henriette Theodora Markovitch), Marcel Duchamp, René Duvillier, Max Ernst, Charles Filiger, Esteban Francés, Alberto Giacometti, Alberto Gironella, Arshile Gorky, Simon Hantaï, Jacques Hérold, Georges Hugnet, Valentine Hugo, Victor Hugo, Hector Hyppolite, Marcel Jean, Frida Kahlo, Vassily Kandinsky, Konrad Klapheck, Yves Laloy, Jacqueline Lamba, Wifredo Lam, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Marcelle Loubchansky, René Magritte, Baya Mahieddine, Pascal-Désir Maisonneuve , Léo Malet, Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky), André Masson, Roberto Matta, Joan Miró, Pierre Molinier, Gustave Moreau, Edward Munch, Pierre Naville, Gordon Onslow-Ford, Meret Oppenheim, Wolfgang Paalen, Mimi Parent, Roland Penrose, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso (Pablo Ruiz Picasso), Judit Reigl, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Diego Rivera, Henri Rousseau, Sterpini-De Sanctis, Jean-Claude Silbermann, Schröder Sonnenstern, Jindrich Styrsky, Max Walter Svanberg, Yves Tanguy, Hervé Télémaque, Toyen (Marie Čermínová), Clovis Trouille, Raoul Ubac, Jacques Vaché, Remedios Varo, Robert “Scottie” Wilson, Adolf Wölffi, Aloys Zötl View more