The Traumatic Surreal
Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 22. November 2024 – 16 März 2025

Marking the centenary of surrealism, this exhibition brings together work made after 1960 through to the present day to explore the radical appropriation and development of surrealist sculptural traditions by post-war women artists in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

Co-curated with Professor Patricia Allmer (University of Edinburgh) and based on her book The Traumatic Surreal, the exhibition will bring together works by Renate Bertlmann, Birgit Jürgenssen, Bady Minck, Meret Oppenheim, Pipilotti Rist, Ursula (Schultze-Bluhm) and Eva Wipf to explore their potent and multiple critiques of patriarchy.

In their national contexts, patriarchy is closely interwoven with and often represents a continuation of fascism and its historical traumas. Using a variety of surrealist devices and techniques such as found objects, collage and assemblage, their work demonstrates the potential of surrealism to negotiate the impacts and legacies of fascism and Nazism and their long influence over the historically shifting politics of womanhood. mehr

These artists continue surrealist traditions, using the movement’s capacity to challenge conventions and systems of belief while redefining and reconfiguring surrealism in new directions. In a period where women’s rights are under threat across the world, and politics in many places is lurching to the right, an exploration of these powerful critiques of fascism and patriarchy seems especially timely.

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