It is such a relief that the big lockdown we were all experiencing due to the global health situation is finally ending. Very carefully and slowly we are trying to get used to the changes around. What could feel more coherent in this “new normality” than an exhibition about Surrealism? Luckily for me, Caixa Forum Foundation was one of the first art institutions to reopen in Barcelona and I had an opportunity to see great art in person after weeks of online viewing rooms and virtual exhibition experiences only.
“Object of Desire. Surrealism and Design 1924 – 2020” is an exhibition curated by the director of Vitra Design Museum Mateo Kries. It explores the exchange between Surrealism and design by juxtaposing 285 artworks and objects from the last century. Caixa Forum, one of the best art spaces in Barcelona, presents this imagination enriching project previously only seen at Vitra Campus in Germany at the end of 2019.
Surrealism as movement officially starts in October 1924 when the two surrealist manifesto get published by Yvan Goll and André Breton. Both of the initiator groups claimed to be “successors of a revolution launched by a poet Guillaume Apollinaire“. Soon after the verbal start of Surrealism, it was joined by the art, film, theater, and photography with names like Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Meret Oppenheim, Claude Cahun, René Magritte, Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí between many others.
“Object of Desire” shows works of art by some of these major surrealists in the company of many artists and designers who have kept the irrational, dream-like, and subconscious spirit around those desired objects like paintings, sculptures, films, or even clothes, accessories and furniture pieces.
The four rooms of the exhibition were loosely based on chronology starting with a projection of the famous “Un Chien Andalou” by Luis Buñuel, interpretation of “Bicycle Wheel” by Marcel Duchamp and a “Gift” by Man Ray. They were followed by a room featuring a Giorgio de Chirico backdrop with sculptures by Man Ray and the contemporary designs like a “Column Seat” by Studio 65 or “Horse Lamp” by Front Design accompanied by a projection of “Meshes of the Afternoon” by the amazing Maya Deren and Alexander Hamid between other treasures.
The extremely attractive third room was dedicated to the erotism and design with a backdrop of a famous Mae West room by Salvador Dalí and a contemporary “Lips” sofa by Studio 65 nearby. The selection of delightful accessories and my favorite “Crow Feet” table by Meret Oppenheimer were next to a nude bust by Salvador Dalí. The wall was filled with sensual photographs of Dali´s “Dream of Venus” perfomance taken by Horst P. Horst with the “Ingres´Violine” nude by Man Ray nearby. The fourth room featured “Designs for the Overpopulated Planet” by Dunne & Raby created in 2009 which a decade later and with the current situation of the world doesn´t look so surreal anymore…
All of the spaces were full of interesting photographs of the original surrealists and their projects reminding us how fascinating life can be if you only take a different perspective to view and play with it. How nice it is to be back viewing art in person!
For more information visit Caixa Forum page.
The exhibition will be showing untill 27 September 2020