Approaching Surrealism1 July - 30 September 2012

Over the coming months the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation and its Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros, will be presenting a thematic tribute to Surrealism, one of the greatest and most subversive art movements of the past century. Surrealism was a movement of protest set to challenge all that had been the accepted norm mainly in the art of verse, and by implication also in the visual arts. Rather than evolving into an aesthetic school, it focused all its energies and aspirations on inventing ways through which to change life itself, concerned as it was not with aesthetic beauty but with the dynamics of the spirit.

With as many as 100 exhibits, including collages, paintings, and sculptures, constructions, prints, and photographs, as well as highly relevant archival material, the exhibition (which is scheduled to run from July 1 through to September 30, 2012) will offer visitors the opportunity to ‘approach surrealism’ through the work of both international and Greek artists.

Understandably, a visual event with all its intrinsic limitations (see technical means, research and funding potential) cannot possibly exhaust the ideological breadth and rich iconography of that massively iconoclastic movement of the avant-garde (the most popular of its kind since impressionism, as it turns out), which was born of a complete surrender to the power of impulse and the dream, to automatic writing and paradox, to the creative imagination and those repressed forces of the mind, and which challenged iconographic convention and the established cultural mores of postwar societies with unmitigated ferocity.

As its title emphatically suggests, the exhibition aims to approach and in turn communicate the message of an art that was bold enough to walk down the uncharted pathways of the soul and so to open up new horizons; an art that passed from being the object of dismissive irony, from an early stage of vagueness and fluidity, of quasi totalitarianism and political dispute followed by purges of some of the movement’s founding members, to achieving recognition and wide social appeal and even having some degree of influence on social and cultural behaviors. Even the name of that art, Surrealism, a term invented by coincidence, has long since transcended its purely literary and artistic function and has found its way into everyday speech to suggest the uncanny or paradoxical, the extraordinary within the ordinary.

The event comprises two sections:

The first, which makes up the exhibition’s core section, deals with historical Surrealism and its formative impact on twentieth-century sensibility, bringing together works by approximately twenty artists and archival material pertaining both to founding members and latecomers to the movement.

The second section attempts an approach of the literary and visual achievements of the Greek surrealists.

The bilingual (Greek-English) volume that is to accompany the exhibition will be produced by the well-known Greek publishing house MIKRI ARKTOS and will feature an introduction by MOCA-Andros director, Mr. Kyriakos Koutsomallis, and essays by Mmes. Hélène Glykatzi-Ahrweiler, Nadja Argyropoulou, Ioulita Iliopoulou, and Niki Loizidi, as well as Messrs. Nanos Valaoritis and Alecos Fassianos.

Related events organized in the context of the exhibition will include, among others, a roundtable on Surrealism featuring a number of literary luminaries among the key speakers, chaired as always by University of Europe Rector and President, Mrs. Hélène Glykatzi-Ahrweiler.

Media sponsors include The Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation-ERT S.A., SKAI Television,SKAI Radio 100.3 FMKathimerini newspaper, the Greek Radio Second Program and the online magazine Culturenow.

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