London International Surrealist Exhibition

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The International Surrealist Exhibition was held from 11 June to 4 July 1936 at the New Burlington Galleries in London, England.

Organisers[edit]

The exhibition was organised by committees from England, France, Belgium, Scandinavia and Spain.

The English organising committee were:

The French organising committee were:

The remaining nations had a single committee representative:

Exhibitors[edit]

The following artists participated in the exhibition:

The following individuals exhibited objects:

The following nations were represented at the exhibition:

Exhibition Programming[edit]

The exhibition was officially opened in the presence of about two thousand people by André Breton. The average attendance for the entire run of the Exhibition was about a thousand people per day.

Over the course of the Exhibition, the following lectures were delivered to large audiences:

  • June 16 — André Breton — Limites non-frontières du Surréalisme.
  • June 19 — Herbert Read — Art and the Unconscious.
  • June 24 — Paul Éluard — La Poésie surréaliste.
  • June 26 — Hugh Sykes Davies — Biology and Surrealism.
  • July 1 — Salvador Dalí — Fantômes paranoïaques authentiques.

The number of exhibits, paintings, sculpture, objects and drawings displayed during the exhibition's run was around 390.

The most iconic image of the exhibition is the opening day performance of Sheila Legge, who stood in the middle of Trafalgar Square, posing in a white, drop tail hemmed wedding dress ensemble inspired by a Salvador Dalí painting, with her head completely obscured by a flower arrangement.[1] In one variation of the images capturing her performance, pigeons are perched on her outstretched, gloved arms.[1]

Dalí's lecture was delivered whilst wearing a deep-sea diving suit. Nearly suffocating during the presentation, Dalí had to be rescued by the young poet David Gascoyne, who arrived with a spanner to release him from the diving helmet.

Danish painter Wilhelm Freddie's entries never made it to the exhibition, as they were confiscated by British Customs representatives for being pornographic. According to ruling law at the time, the works had to be destroyed, but this was avoided at the last minute and they were despatched back to Denmark.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Penelope Rosemont (December 1, 2000). "Surrealist Women, An International Anthology". Google Books. United States of America: The University of Texas Press. pp. 88–90. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 

Sources[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′35″N 0°08′28″W / 51.50972°N 0.14111°W / 51.50972; -0.14111