Surrealism And The Dream

Ana B. Remos

This exhibition invites us to keep dreaming to stay alive.


Dreams, images and surrealism: a suggestive connection that hasn’t received the deserved attention. It feels untouched and unedited. José Jiménez, an expert on the topic is the curator behind Surrealism and Dream, an exhibition that delves into the role of sleep on this artistic current. The show will be on view at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, in Madrid, until January 12, 2014.

The exhibition is the first to address the theme of dreams in surrealism from a monographic point of view. The reason is not lack of interest, but the complicated nature of the subject. The Thyssen exhibit offers a unique experience to the visitors because the exploration of new frontiers is more challenging to achieve than a reinterpretation of what is known.

SALVADOR DALÍ. Honey is Sweeter than Blood, 1941.

Surrealism was more than an artistic movement; it was also a lifestyle, an aesthetic observation that largely determined all the art expressions that came after it. And dreams were at the heart of the movement.

This show echoes the footprints left by dreams in our contemporary sensibility. Paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures and photographs by André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, Yves Tanguy, Renee Magritte, André Masson, Max Ernst, Jean Arp, Claude Cahun and Paul Nougé, become the channels that allow us to enter this dreamy journey created by the philosopher and art critic José Jiménez.

The 163 works in the exhibition are joined by seven video installations and film clips. “Surrealism is the first movement that uses all media, from painting to film,” says Jiménez.

PAUL DELVAUX. The Dream, 1935.

But the scope of the movement went beyond dreams. For the surrealists, the dream became a channel for the release of the psyche and was expressed through automatic writing. However, this didn’t prompt them to become only followers of Sigmund Freud and his study The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). They understood it as an experience different from conscious life, which, when manifested, enriched the psyche.

Jiménez believes that to live is to dream and, with this show, he invites us to keep dreaming. “According to the surrealists, the great message of dreams is precisely that idea: if we give up dreams, we stop living. I wish the great artistic impact one feels in front of all these works would be a boost in our lives to keep dreaming, to keep pursuing ideals, to continue to find freedom in the way we see things, ” explains the curator.

If for a moment we thought that we live in a time of transgression, modernity or fascination, this show comes to reminds us what rupture surrealism was. It is a masterly lecture on history and values that results in a much-needed stimulus.


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