Photograph of Surrealist mannequin by Max Ernst taken at the 1938 International Surrealism Exhibition, Paris
© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2010

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Photograph of Surrealist mannequin by Max Ernst taken at the 1938 International Surrealism Exhibition, Paris 1938
The ‘Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme’ was held at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1938. It was organized by André Breton, Paul Éluard and Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp produced a radical design, which took the form of a site-specific installation featuring over 200 paintings, sculptures and objects. Visitors passed through a long indoor street lined with shop mannequins, each dressed by an artist or writer, such as this one by Max Ernst. The ceiling of the main hall was hung with Duchamp’s 1200 coal sacks and four beds, one in each corner, brought the world of the Paris brothel to the show. The floor was covered in six inches of sand and autumn leaves. It was dimly lit so visitors used flashlights to view the exhibition. Overall the show was a huge success.

Glossary Open

Installation art

An art practice developed in the second half of the 20th century that broke away from the view of a sculpture as a singular object to be looked at. Instead, installation artists create an environment that may surround the viewer. Many are temporary or created for a particular location.

Surrealism

A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Installation art, Surrealism

Details

  • Acc. No. GMA A35/1/3/190/4
  • Medium Photograph
  • Size 23.00 x 14.30 cm
  • Credit Provenance unknown