The surrealist leader André Breton described desire as the "only master that man must recognize." One of surrealism's defining themes, desire was expressed variously in Dali's charged landscapes, Miró's lyric abstractions, and Bellmer's unsettling nudes. Influenced by Freud, the surrealists saw sexual desire as a path to self-knowledge--"a theatre of provocations and prohibitions in which life's most profound urges confront one another."
Published to accompany a major transatlantic exhibition of international surrealism, this lavishly illustrated catalogue explores desire in surrealist art in both words and images. Key works by such artists as Duchamp, Magritte, Ernst, Dali, de Chirico, Giacometti, Bellmer, Oppenheim, and Cahun are illustrated and discussed, as are surrealist films and photographs by Man Ray, Brassaï, and others. The volume also features some of the rare and beautiful books produced by the surrealists in their celebration of love, as well as a selection of fascinating manuscripts, letters, and documentary photographs that reveal the personal contexts of the group's exploration of desire. Essays by leading scholars show how the theme of desire was implicated in almost all aspects of surrealist activity--not only its art and writings, but also its political struggles and its ethical stances on issues involving individual liberty and the social control of sexuality.
This attractive and provocative volume illustrates a vision of desire that embraces both sublime exaltation and dark carnality. It shows the unprecedented intensity with which the surrealists extolled love and the extent to which they depicted desire as implicated in every thought, action, event, and encounter. A major contribution to surrealist studies, this volume is edited by Jennifer Mundy, and has contributions from Dawn Ades, Katharine Conley, Neil Cox, Carolyn J. Dean, Hal Foster, Vincent Gille, Jean-Michel Goutier, David Hopkins, Radovan Ivsic, Julia Kelly, Annie Le Brun, David Lomas, and Alyce Mahon.
Tate Modern, London
September 20, 2001-January 1, 2002
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
February 6, 2002-May 12, 2002
"The lavishly illustrated catalogue . . . provides additional lenses through which to view the often hypnotic artworks and the affiliated groups of artists that produced them. Eleven essayists dissect desire in all its romantic, sexual, psychoanalytic, literary, and political manifestations."--Robert Askins, ArtNews
"[A] gripping album of Surrealist works in all media, from the movement's origins in interwar Europe to its legacy in contemporary art, with special attention to erotic content. Thematic essays offer as much historical sweep and critical penetration as any single book on the subject."--Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
"This well-crafted book comprises a rich lode of 300 illustrations, many not published previously, and 12 essays (by as many contributors) devoted to the many aspects of surrealist desire. Since the notion of desire is central to surrealism, this volume is overdue and most welcome. . . . A variety of presentations and explanations of events, artists works, and particular manifestations of surrealism provide useful background and detail, thus usefully complementing the annotated essays."--Choice
"The theme of the exhibition is considerably enhanced and refined by its well orchestrated catalogue."--Roger Cardinal, Times Literary Supplement
"With qualifications, everything in the show possesses surreality--or convulsive beauty--providing we understand how to unlock it. The most helpful thing to understand is that aesthetics was never a central Surrealist preoccupation, so looking for an aesthetic experience here will not get you to first base."--Arthur C. Danto, The Nation
Table of Contents
Published in association with the Tate Modern, London
Hardcover: For sale only in the United States, Canada, and the Philippines