press release

From the 24 September 2009, the exhibition The Subversion of Images, Surrealism, Photography, Film will offer an exceptional overview of surrealist photography bringing together almost 400 works of art: a large selection of the most beautiful works by Man Ray, Hans Bellmer, Claude Cahun, Raoul Ubac, Jacques-Andre Boiffard, Maurice Tabard will be reunited alongside previously unseen images, which demonstrate the numerous ways in which the Surrealists used photography: magazine publications or artists’ books, advertising, collections of images, a fascination for the 'document brut' (documents in their raw, crude state), photo booths, group photographs…

The exhibition will also allow the public to discover a body of work that is less well-known by renowned artists such as Paul Eluard, André Breton, Antonin Artaud, or George Hugnet, as well as the photographic games of Léo Malet or Victor Brauner and to shed light on figures such as Artür Harfaux or Benjamin Fondane.

More than twenty years after the exhibition Explosante fixe, curated by Rosalind Krauss and Jane Livingstone, The Subversion of Images, Surrealism, Photography, Film attempts to question the uses of photography and images to which the Surrealists gave a new lease of life and present the public with a cultural exploration of surrealist photography.

Each of the nine Rooms in the exhibition will focus on a key concept, displaying a combination of works by the artists and the different techniques they used to create them. The essential ideas of the surrealist movement are, indeed, inherent in photography a medium which served their purposes particularly well.

The route of the exhibition thus facilitates the discovery of the richness and heterogeneity of the Surrealists’ work, via the key concepts – Collective Action retraces the history of the group through playful or serious snapshots developed from organised group sessions or photo booths; Pointless Theatre reveals the joyful, parodic, erotic, caustic mises-en-scene whose sheer absurdity they held dear. Scopic Impulse demonstrates the desire to See and “The Story of the Eye” through the use of the close-up; Anatomy of the Image presents the modification of images - double exposure, solarisation or chemical tricks - which reflected the subversive nature of the Surrealists’ work. Concentrating on the first generation of surrealist artists, the exhibition will present work which constituted the laboratory for their artistic experiments and the paths that their distribution and innovative ideas would take. These dazzling works revolutionised the representation of the artist and his work.

The exhibition will also screen a series of films and short films directed by the Surrealists, Luis Buñuel, Man Ray and Germaine Dulac.

The Subversion of Images
Surrealism, Photography, and Film
Kuratoren: Quentin Bajac, Clement Cheroux, Guillaume Le Gall, Philippe-Alain Michaud, Michel Poivert

Künstler: Antonin Artaud, Hans Bellmer, Jacques-Andre Boiffard, Victor Brauner, André Breton, Claude Cahun, Paul Elouard, Benjamin Fondane, Artür Harfaux, Georges Hugnet, Roger Livet, Leo Malet, Man Ray, Maurice Tabard, Raoul Ubac ...

Centre Pompidou, Paris
Fotomuseum Winterthur
Fundacion Mapfre, Madrid