Take an Online Tour of 'Fantastic Women' to Explore Works by the Hidden Heroines of Surrealism

  • July 26, 2020 16:19

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Dorothea Tanning, Voltage, 1942, Oil on canvas, Collection Ulla und Heiner Pietzsch, Berlin, © The Estate of Dorothea Tanning/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020, Photo: Jochen Littkemann, Berlin
FANTASTIC WOMEN. SURREAL WORLDS FROM MERET OPPENHEIM TO FRIDA KAHLO, Installation View, © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2020, Photo: Norbert Miguletz
Leonora Carrington, Autoportrait, à l'auberge du Cheval d'Aube, 1937/38, oil on canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020
Toyen, Le Paravent, 1966, Oil and collage on canvas, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris / The Roger-Viollet Photoagency © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020
Meret Oppenheim, Venus primitive, 1962 (1933), painted terracotta, glaced straw, 64 x 26,5 x 20 cm, © Kunstmuseum Solothurn / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020
Bridget Tichenor, The Surrealists/The Specialists, 1956, Oil on Masonite, 40 x 30,2 cm, Private Collection Mexico, © Bridget Tichenor
Louise Bourgeois, Torso, Self-Portrait, 1963-64, Bronze, painted white, wall piece, 62,9 x 40,6 x 20 cm, Collection the Easton Foundation © The Easton Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020, Photo: Christopher Burke

Goddess, she-devil, doll, fetish, child-woman or wonderful dream crea­ture – in various guises, women were the central subject of male Surre­alist fantasies. Women artists initially found their way into the circle surrounding André Breton, the founder of the Surre­alist group, as compan­ions or models. Yet they quickly broke out of those tradi­tional roles and confi­dently created inde­pen­dent work. Female artists differed from their male colleagues above all in their reversal of perspec­tive: they ques­tioned their own reflec­tion or took on different roles in search of a (new) model of female and artistic iden­tity.

Fantastic Women, Surreal Worlds From Meret Oppenheim to Frida Kahlo, an exhi­bi­tion that debuted at Schirn Kunsthalle Frank­furt and is now at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblebæk, Denmark, from July 25 to Nov. 8, 2020, can be explored with this free digital overview

The exhi­bi­tion focuses on women artists who were directly asso­ci­ated with the Surre­alist move­ment founded in Paris in the early 1920s, though some­times only for a short period. Featuring about 260 remark­able paint­ings, works on paper, sculp­tures, photographs, and films by 34 artists, the exhi­bi­tion covers a wide range of styles and subjects.

Besides well-known figures like Louise Bour­geois, Claude Cahun, Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Meret Oppen­heim, and Dorothea Tanning, numerous as yet lesser-known artists from more than three decades of Surre­alist art, such as Toyen, Alice Rahon, and Kay Sage, also await discovery. The exhi­bi­tion features repre­sen­ta­tive selec­tions of works by each of the artists, while at the same time reflecting networks and friend­ships among the women artists in Europe, the US, and Mexico. 

The exhibition was curated by Dr. Ingrid Pfeiffer at Schirn Kunsthalle Frank­furt, in coop­er­a­tion with the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblebæk. An exhibition catalogue is available.

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