The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, June 21, 2018

Barbican Art Gallery Explores the Power and Mystery of the Surreal House
The Surreal House, Barbican Art Gallery.

LONDON.- The Surreal House explores the power and mystery of the house in our collective imagination. It is the first exhibition to throw light on the significance of surrealism for architecture. Bringing together over 150 works, the exhibition also reveals the profound influence surrealism has had on a host of contemporary artists, filmmakers and architects. In an ambitious installation by acclaimed architects Carmody Groarke the exhibition is designed to be experienced as an extraordinary surreal house in its own right. The Surreal House opens on 10 June 2010.

For the Surrealists the house was more than ‘a machine for living’, as identified by Modernist heavyweight Le Corbusier. Instead it was a ‘stage for living’, a convulsive theatre of the domestic; a real space, inhabited, if not by people, then by their ghosts. In The Surreal House all the exhibits show the significance of the unconscious world of dreams and desires, presenting extraordinary dwellings that reflect everything that the rational, sanitized house sacred to Modernism is not.

Combining works of the imagination with important examples of actual ‘surreal’ houses, the exhibition presents a diverse range of paintings, photographs, films, models and installation from public and private collections in Britain, Europe, Canada and the United States, many rarely seen in the UK. The Surreal House brings together first generation Surrealists, precursors and close associates, with contemporary artists and architects. Iconic works by Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Alberto Giacometti, and René Magritte are set alongside works by Giorgio de Chirico, Le Facteur Cheval and Edward Hopper as well as contemporary works by artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Sarah Lucas. F ilmmakers include Maya Deren, Jean Cocteau, Andrei Tarkovsky and Jan Švankmajer , whilst modern and con temporary architecture is represented by John Hejduk, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Rem Koolhaas , Bernard Tschumi and Diller & Scofidio.

The exhibition opens with Buster Keaton and Marcel Duchamp. American filmmaker Keaton, much loved by the Surrealists, is famed for his absurd lyric humour and extraordinary stunts. In Steamboat Bill Jr, 1920, a clapboard house famously falls on top of Keaton in a moment of sheer, heart-stopping madness; while in The Scarecrow, 1926, all the functions of the house are hilariously compressed into one room. Prière de toucher,1947, by Marcel Duchamp, is a relief of a woman’s breast mounted on a cloud of black velvet. Originally the front cover of a luxury edition of a surrealist book, here it signals the doorbell to The Surreal House.

Representing the inside of a house, the lower galleries take the visitor on a labyrinthine journey through a series of intimate chambers of varying scale that evoke different rooms including the bathroom, toilet, bedroom, salon, nursery and cellar. Linked by passages, these interiors are characterized by dark and light, sound and silence, compression and expansion. Down a dimly lit passageway someone singing opera can be heard from behind The Toilet in the Corner, 2008, an installation by Russian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. Concert for Anarchy , 1990, by German artist Rebecca Horn, is a grand piano suspended upside down from the 6 metre-high Gallery ceiling. A mechanism within is timed so that every few minutes the instrument erupts into action, with the lid flying open and the keys jutting out in a cacophonous shudder.

Further themes explored downstairs include Femme Maison, epitomized by the work of Louise Bourgeois and The Haunted House, featuring Edward Hopper’s masterpiece House by a Railroad, 1925. Other highlights include the entire series of 19 black & white photographs, shown together for the first time, from La Subversion des Images ,1929-30, by Belgian photographer Paul Nougé’s; a powerful group of haunting images by Francesca Woodman; Sarah Lucas’ unforgettable piece Au Naturel ,1994; and a whole room installation, The Wait, 1964-65, by Ed Kienholz, never before seen in London.

On the upper level, circumnavigating the hidden chambers below, the visitor is metaphorically transported to the rooftops of The Surreal House, a space consisting of eight individual bays devoted to a dialogue between surrealist pieces, contemporary art and architecture. This part of the exhibition opens with Salvador Dalí’s iconic and rarely seen painting Sleep,1937 , featuring a giant disembodied head, held precariously aloft on the ‘crutches of reality’. Behind the closed eyelids is the hidden domain – the home of dreams. If the crutches give way, then the head falls to the ground and the dreamer is awoken from their slumbers. Juxtaposed is a film of Villa dall’Ava, France, 1996, designed by Rem Koolhaas, who acknowledges a huge debt to surrealism, and OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture). This impressive dwelling with a rooftop swimming pool, teetering on giraffe-like legs, is in every sense a contemporary reflection of Dali’s delirious dream painting.

Celebrated by the Surrealists as a kindred spirit, French postman Ferdinand Cheval spent 33 years making his dreams of to create an imaginary castle come true. The Palais Idéal, 1962, with heavily ornate cave-like entrances, is an extraordinary accumulation of architectural elements that seem to emerge from under a thick layer of solidified lava. Some structures are more temporary, for example, Dali’s Dream of Venus Pavilion, a surrealist funhouse created for New York World’s Fair 1939, featuring scantily clad ‘liquid ladies’ in an enormous tank and a 36 foot bed with a sleeping Venus. Other extraordinary houses or set designs, often enhanced by the powers of illusion, are created by filmmakers to be captured forever on celluloid. For example, Jean Cocteau’s marvellously poetic film La Belle et La Bete, 1946, features the beast’s strange and magical castle, with candelabras fashioned out of living arms, supported by sculptural columns of Greek goddesses with moving eyes.

The exhibition is punctuated with powerful cinematic images of houses under attack or magically transformed as if in a dream. It concludes with the hauntingly beautiful sequence of filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky’s last film,The Sacrifice, 1986, in which Alexander, the protagonist sets fire to his dacha, a Russian country house and symbol of all that he holds dear.

Barbican Art Gallery | The Surreal House | Buster Keaton | Marcel Duchamp |

Last Week News

June 10, 2010

6th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art Brings Together Numerous Artistic Positions

Galileo Lost Tooth, Fingers Go on Show at Galileo Museum in Florence

Senator Christopher Dodd Says Artifacts Held by Yale Belong to Peru

"Hidden" Tintoretto Goes on Public Display for the First Time

DC Moore Gallery Celebrates Charles Burchfield's Fifty Years as a Painter

Economy Could Take Toll on Commissioned US Artwork

Spazi Aperti: Annual Inter-Academia Exhibition of Contemporary Art Opens

World Renowned Conceptual Artist Shen Shaomin at Eli Klein Fine Art

Architect Charles Gwathmey's Last Major Museum Completed

Christie's Russian Art Sales Results Illustrate a Buoyant Market

21c Museum Hotel to Open New Property in Downtown Bentonville, Arkansas

Solo Exhibition by Michael Stubbs Opens at Laurent Delaye

Exhibition on the Story of The Royal Ballet Announced

Largest Festival of Disabled Artists Opens in DC

Sotheby's Sale of The Collection of Patricia Kluge Held On-Site in Charlottesville, Virginia Totals $15.2 Million

Bouguereau Tops Christie's Sale at $2.77 Million

Native American Art Realizes Strong Prices in June at Bonhams & Butterfields

Battle of Boyne Eye Witness Account Triples Estimate at Bonhams

Exhibition of New Paintings by James White at Max Wigram Gallery

Codices Guarded in France to be Digitalized

June 9, 2010

Spain's Cultural Ministry to Reopen Caves of Altamira Despite Scientists' Warnings

Taurus: From Myth to Ritual at the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

Rare Warhol Portrait of Liz Taylor to Lead Christie's Auction

Museum Tinguely Addresses Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in New Exhibition

Paul McMahon, Matt Mullican, and James Welling Opens at Susan Inglett Gallery

75 Long-Lost Silent Movies being Returned to the United States

Art Antiques London: New London Fair for Collectors and Connoisseurs

Princess Diana's Racy Black Dress Bought by Fashion Museum

Danziger Projects Starts Off Summer Program with Group Exhibition

Ko Siu Lan: Don't Think Too Much at Galerie Paris Beijing

ICO Collections Museum Opens First Helen Levitt Anthological Exhibition in Spain

Leeds Art Gallery Acquires First Elisabeth Frink Sculpture

Work by Marguerite and William Zorach at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

A Map of Art Practices in Africa, Past and Present Opens in Brussels

Marrakech Art Fair Aims to Establish Cultural and Artistic Synergy throughout the Entire City

INAH and UNAM Restore Revolutionary Films

Detroit Disassembled: Photographs by Andrew Moore at the Akron Art Museum

Frieze Projects 2010 Announced

Francis Colburn and Ronald Slayton Exhibition Opens at the Fleming Museum

Joseph Cornell and Karen Kilimnik Together for the First Time at Sprüth Magers

June 8, 2010

Renowned British Sense of Humor is on Display in a New London Exhibition at Tate Britain

Sotheby's to Offer Treasures: Aristocratic Heirlooms for Sale

New Public Art Commission by Anish Kapoor to be Unveiled

Sotheby's Important Russian Art Sale Brings $15 Million, Almost Top Estimate

Largest-Ever Show of Harold Edgerton's Photographs Opens in Spain

Christie's to Offer Important Collections of Chinese Archaic Bronzes

Red List of Cultural Objects at Risk to be Announced Today

Bauhaus Archive Opens Comprehensive Exhibition of Ingo Maurer's Work

London Art Auctions Target the Former Soviet Union's Growing Middle Classes

New and Recent Work by Artist Rachel Khedoori at Hauser & Wirth

Leon Levinstein's NYC Street Photographs On View at the Metropolitan Museum

Archives of American Art's Exhibition Portrays "Hard Times, 1929-1939"

First Major Retrospective for Key Living Artist at El Museo del Barrio

Winner Announced in the Piranesi 2010 Prison Series Design Competition

Huis Marseille Explores 'Infatuations' that can Affect Both Photographers and Curators

Dallas Museum of Art Presents Its 2010 Awards to Artists

"Revealing Culture" Exhibition Opens at Smithsonian's Ripley Center

Hirshhorn Launches iPhone App, the First by a Smithsonian Art Museum

Gladiator Graveyard Discovered in Northern England

Everett Fahy Appointed Senior Consultant at Christie's

June 7, 2010

Spectacular Marine Paintings from the Dutch Golden Age on View at Hamburger Kunsthalle

Dallas Museum of Art Adds Six Works to Luc Tuymans Exhibition

Tate and Pompidou Buy Works at the First Pinta London Art Show

After Two Years and Renovation, Dilston Grove Reopens as Arts Venue

Bonhams & Butterfields to Hold One of the Most Unique Fine Furniture Auctions Ever

New Paintings by Teo González at Brian Gross Fine Art

Design September Festival Comprising More than 80 Events Announced

All Visual Arts Presents Jonathan Wateridge's "Another Place"

Chicago Gains a New Eye-Con this Summer with Three-Story Eye

Filmmaker Blake Edwards' Artwork to be Exhibited at Leslie Sacks Fine Art

Lazarides LA Presents a Group Show of Five Recognized European Artists

West and West: Joe Deal and Locating Landscape Opens at CCP

Toronto Now Series Continues with Artist Collaboration

New Orleans Remembers Katrina and the Current Oil Spill with Exhibition

Brian Chippendale Opens His First Solo Exhibition at Cinders Gallery

Site-Specific Project by Spanish Artist Maider López at Witte de With

Meredith Gunderson Presents Briony Anderson - a Solo Exhibition

Infected Landscape: Works by Shai Kremer at The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

Europeana Publishes First White Paper: Knowledge = Information In Context

Lee Harvey Oswald's Getaway Cab Sold to Illinois Museum

June 6, 2010

"Klee Meets Picasso" Exhibition Confronts Themes and Techniques at Zentrum Paul Klee

Restored Theme Building Marks Los Angeles International Airport's Turnaround

Philbrook Hosts Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum

Saint Louis Art Museum Reaches Six-Month Milestones on Expansion

Inaugural Exhibition Showcases New Acquisitions in Israel Museum Collection

Ben Weiner's Second Solo Exhibition in Los Angeles Opens at Mark Moore Gallery

Major New Book, "Lee Friedlander: America by Car", Announced

World-Renowned Sculptors Unite to Honor Major Philanthropists

Storm King Art Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Two Exhibitions

Solo Exhibition of New Work by Lothar Hempel at Stuart Shave/Modern Art

Pousette-Dart: Predominantly White Paintings at the Phillips Collection

Alexander McQueen Dresses from Salem Witch Trials to Sell at Bonhams

Retrospective of Charles M. Russell Opens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Ground Breaking Faraday Lecture Notes for Sale at Bonhams

Norton Museum of Art Presents "Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney"

100 Years of Fashion on View at the National Gallery of Victoria

Museum of Contemporary Art Opens "Here Not There: San Diego Art Now"

Juried Display of Art by NYC Public School Students on View at the Metropolitan

Royal Ontario Museum Announces New Accessibility Programs

June 5, 2010

New Bravo TV Show, "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist", Pits 14 Artists Against Each Other

MOCA is the Only West Coast Venue for Arshile Gorky Retrospective

Pablo Picasso's Mediterranean Years at Gagosian Gallery in London

Houston Baptist University Unveils Van Dyck Masterpiece in Belin Chapel

Venice Pays First Major Tribute to Louise Bourgeois with Exhibition

Christie's Launches Optimized Mobile Experience for All Mobile Phones

Sotheby's to Sell Works from Neuberger Berman and Lehman Brothers Collections

New Paintings by Irish-Born Artist Rodney Dickson at Gasser Grunert

World Cup Stamp Designs from 1970 Uncovered by Archivists

Art Fund Bets on Late Picassos, Pop Artist Robert Indiana

Philadelphia Hosts World Premiere of Cleopatra Exhibit

Calder's Le Guichet will Spend the Summer at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Rival Auction Houses, Christie's and Sotheby's, Aim for New Heights in London

Kunsthaus Zürich Shows Videos and Paintings by Albanian Artist Adrian Paci

Second Installment of the Wadsworth's Contemporary Art Series Opens

Eakins's "The Gross Clinic" Restored and On View in Exhibition Exploring its History and Conservation

Audio-Visual Experience of the North Pole to Open at the Akron Art Museum

Some Assembly Required at the Craft and Folk Art Museum

Saint Louis Art Museum Announces Simon Kelly as New Curator

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

Barbican Art Gallery transformed by a major exhibition on OMA: One of the most influential architectural practices

Barbican Art Gallery Announces Next "The Curve" Commission by Céleste Boursier Mougenot

Barbican Art Gallery Announces Exhibition of Work by Ron Arad

First Solo Exhibition in the UK for Polish Artist Robert Kusmirowski at Barbican Art Gallery

Barbican Art Gallery Explores Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969-2009

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful