DYN (magazine)

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DYN (derived from the Greek word tó dynaton, that which is possible) was an art magazine founded by the Austrian-Mexican Surrealist Wolfgang Paalen, published in Mexico City, and distributed in New York, Paris, and London from 1942 through 1944. Only six issues were produced.

Paalen dominated its contents as editor and contributed its major topics in seven large essays and numerous smaller reviews and articles. DYN's editorial board later enlisted a number of associated thinkers and artists, including Miguel Covarrubias, César Moro, Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, Gordon Onslow Ford and Robert Motherwell. Each edition covered various subjects and themes, such as poetry, visual arts, anthropology, science, and philosophy, and was illustrated by a wide range of artists, including Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Alice Rahon, William Baziotes, Motherwell, Roberto Matta, Jackson Pollock, Harry Holtzman, and Henry Moore.

In the first number Paalen emphasized his will to rediscuss some of the fundamentals in surrealist theory and publicly announces to his friend Breton his "farewell to surrealism." Paalen's main intention of this provocation was to tease the dogmatic attitudes implicit in surrealist theory. Breton, however, reacted as deeply offended, and in the preface of VVV argued: "We reject the lie of an open surrealism, in which anything is possible".

In the second issue he published a survey on dialectical materialism which consisted of a set of three questions sent to two dozen outstanding scholars and writers, and the statements of those who responded. In a provocative and straightforward way Paalen enquires after the academic validity of the philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels as a science. Half of the addressees replied, amongst them Albert Einstein, Clement Greenberg, and Bertrand Russell. The majority answered all questions No. Russell answered bluntly: "I think the metaphysics of both Hegel and Marx plain nonsense - Marx's claim to be 'science' is no more justified than Mary Baker Eddy's."

The positive impact on New York's younger generation of artists and their first publications, such as Possibilities (ed. by Motherwell and Rosenblum in 1947) was crucial. Motherwell translated Paalen's programatical essay "Image Nouvelle" into English ("The New Image") and published a collection of essays from DYN as the first number of Problems of Contemporary Art in 1945 (New York Wittenborn). Motherwell's collage Surprise and Inspiration (Peggy Guggenheim Collection) was named after Paalen's essay with the same title. Motherwell had translated this article for DYN and the collage was published next to it.


  • Kloyber, Christian, ed. Wolfgang Paalen’s DYN: The Complete Reprint. Vienna and New York: Springer, 2000.

See also[edit]

  • Acéphale, a surrealist review created by Georges Bataille, published from 1936 to 1939
  • Documents, a surrealist magazine edited by Georges Bataille from 1929 to 1930
  • Minotaure, a primarily surrealist-oriented publication founded by Albert Skira, published in Paris from 1933 to 1939
  • La Révolution surréaliste, a seminal Surrealist publication founded by André Breton, published in Paris from 1924 to 1929
  • View, an American art magazine, primarily covering avant-garde and surrealist art, published from 1940 to 1947

Further reading[edit]

  • Leddy, Annette and Conwell, Donna (2012). Farewell to Surrealism: The Dyn Circle in Mexico, Los Angeles: Getty Publications, ISBN 978-1-60606-118-3

External links[edit]