Yokohama Museum of Art Collection December 9, 2017- March 4, 2018

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Salvador Dalí, "Geodesical Portrait of Gala,” 1936, tempera on wood, 21.0×27.0㎝
©Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, JASPAR Tokyo, 2017  G0962

Highlight

 Surrealism - Paintings, Sculptures and Photographs
1. Skill Not Required
2. Groping Toward Landscape
3. Another Kind of Found Landscape
4. Found the Object I Was Looking For
5. Goddesses, Monsters, Or...?
6. What Part of Me Is It That You...?
7. Grown-Ups at Play With Dolls
8. Approaches to Homage
9. Methods of Transcending Death
10. Encounters Between Word and Image
11. Is Surrealism a Style?
[Photography Gallery]Ishiuchi Miyako’s "Yokosuka Story"

In 1983, prior to the opening of the Yokohama Museum of Art, the facility began collecting Surrealist art works. Made up of multiple pieces by central Surrealist figures such as René Magritte, Paul Delvaux, Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Hans (Jean) Arp, Joan Miró, and André Masson, the collection conveys the artists’ diverse range of activities, and their efforts to forge into many different genres, including not only oil painting but also collage, sculpture, printmaking, and photography.

The works also represent the expansive view of Surrealism, which transcended national and ethnic boundaries by encompassing artists from all over the world such as Roberto Matta (Chile), Óscar Domínguez (Canary Islands), Wilfredo Lam (Cuba), and John Armstrong (U.K.). In addition, the collection contains a rich array of photographs by Man Ray, Hans Bellmer, Jindřich Štyrský, Wols, and others.

In this edition of the collection exhibition, making full use of three galleries, viewers will be treated to a virtually complete group of Surrealist works from the museum’s holdings – the first time such an exhibition has ever been attempted at the museum.

In conjunction with the "Ishiuchi Miyako: Grain and Image" exhibition, we also present Ishiuchi’s "Yokosuka Story" and other works by the artist from the museum collection in the Photography Gallery.

List of works [1.17MB]    

Sections

1. Skill Not Required

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Paul KLEE 
“Des Angriffs Materie, Geist und Symbol” 1922
watercolor and oil on paper
33.3×47.5cm

Surrealist art aims to draw on the bottomless well of unconscious images in the human psyche and reveal them in the light of day. They believed that whether artists or viewers, people could be inspired by various kinds of stimuli that would bring forth such images automatically, one after another.

When we try to draw “skillfully,” we tamp down the autonomous action of inspiration, and the Surrealists regarded the resulting art as a fabrication. They referred to this autonomous action as “automatism,” and developed methods that anyone could practice in order to activate it. These included cutting and pasting pre-existing images to make collages, making rubbings of everyday surfaces in the surrounding environment (frottage), basing paintings around the accidental shapes of paint stains (decalcomania), and placing objects directly on photographic paper and exposing it (photograms).

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EI-KYU
From “Photo-dessin: Raison du sommeil, par Q. EI”
1936
gelatin silver print
26.1×21.5cm

The fortuitous forms and traces resulting from these methods sparked inspiration, which could be enhanced by duplicating the forms and traces through photographs and transfers. The works in this section were produced using these methods.
2. Groping Toward Landscape

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Yves TANGUY
“L’Alphabet du vent”
1944
oil on canvas
100.0×81.0cm

Have you ever seen a scene for the first time, but felt like you had seen it somewhere before? Perhaps you were suddenly seeing, before your eyes, something you had previously dreamed or imagined... The Surrealists believed this occurs because the worlds inside and outside us are one continuous reality. As a genre, landscape painting formed an ideal foundation for their depictions of inner reality, integrating a range of elements linked to human psychology such as nature, time, heaven and earth, perspective, broad and narrow, light and dark. However, the Surrealist painters did not want to render the landscapes they saw before their eyes: instead they adopted strategies like drawing while half-asleep, making numerous rubbings of floors with interesting patterns, scattering paint on the canvas or staining it, and then drawing inspiration from the results to paint further. They created landscapes by interpreting the messages they received when leaving things to the hand of chance and groping in the darkness.     
3. Another Kind of Found Landscape

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Eugène ATGET
“Coin de la rue Saint-Jacques, 5e”
1899 (printed in 1977)
gelatin silver print
22.0×17.4cm

Have you ever experienced a moment when familiar streets seemed to glow with a strange radiance as if you were seeing them for the first time? The painter Giorgio de Chirico had such a moment when looking at a statue of Dante at the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence on a sunny autumn afternoon. He was inspired to paint “The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon” (1910, private collection), a pioneering “metaphysical picture,” and was hailed by the Surrealists as their progenitor.

Eugène Atget, a photographer active at the beginning of the 20th century, vividly documented anonymous streets, shops, parks and other deserted corners of old Paris with a large-format box camera, and sold the photographs as reference material for painters and stage set designers. Atget’s photographs, compellingly presenting the stark face of the city, along with precise shooting location information, had a major influence on Man Ray, Berenice Abbott, and other Surrealists and photographers. Through them, Atget became a well-known name.

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Jindřich ŠTYRSKÝ
From “On the Needle of These Days” ca.1934
gelatin silver print
9.4×9.0cm

In his autobiographical text “Nadja,” the Surrealist leader André Breton described the sequences of chance encounters with people, things and sights that the great city of Paris brought about. A Jacques-André Boiffard’s photograph of Paris street scene with a statue, which Breton selected as an illustration for this book, shows echoes of both de Chirico and Atget.

The works in this section depict enigmatic scenes, but perhaps we can view them as showing moments when the outer and inner worlds overlap.      
4. Found the Object I Was Looking For

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Man RAY
“Péche et feuille”
1931 (printed later)
gelatin silver print
22.6×30.1cm

There is a phenomenon in which the outer and inner worlds overlap, not only in natural landscapes or cityscapes, but also at the microscopic level, in natural objects such as stones, shells and wood chips, and in miscellaneous everyday articles and discarded items. If a welding mask found at a flea market looks like the helmet of a mythical warrior, or a rock found on the beach looks like a dragon’s eye, they are set free from their original roles and take on a special significance. The Surrealists called these “found objects.” In the work of Wols, photographs of objects taken close up at certain angles become something like objects in their own right, charged with new significances. 

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WOLS
Untitled
1939 (printed in 1979)
gelatin silver print
30.5×21.3cm

Another category, assemblage, consists of three-dimensional works where unrelated objects are forced together into new relationships. It operates on the same principle as collage, where printed matter such as newspapers and wallpaper are cut and pasted, but whereas Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque affixed wallpaper to canvas to represent wallpaper – using collage to give still lifes a greater degree of reality – the Surrealists used both collage and assemblage to place objects in new relationships that transform the objects and evoke a range of associations. Meret Oppenheim’s “Eichhörnchen” (Squirrel), a fur-lined beer mug, is a device that transforms an inanimate object into a living thing replete with erotic suggestion. Man Ray’s “Cadeau” (The Gift), an iron with a row of nails attached, could be called a mirror held up to our aggressive impulses.     
5. Goddesses, Monsters, Or...?

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Man RAY
“Meret Oppenheim”
1933 (printed later)
gelatin silver print
37.7×25.4cm

Since ancient times, women have been subject matter for art in a variety of forms including mythological figures, story characters, and portraits. For the Surrealists, women were crucial sources of inspiration, but as subjects they did not fit neatly into any of the existing categories.

Man Ray lauded Meret Oppenheim, one of the few female Surrealist artists, who also actively posed for photographs by Man Ray and others, viewing her as a muse who brought artists spiritual inspiration. Pablo Picasso depicted women in various ways, including as a guide leading the lost Minotaur with light, but also exploring aspects of men’s fear of women such as emasculation. André Masson depicted the mythical character of Penthesilea as a cannibal devouring her lover Achilles, while Hans Bellmer presented the sadistically bound female body, highlighting modes of interaction between actual women’s internal lives and the objectifying outside world. In this section we focus on images of women in Surrealist art, including works dealing with female homosexuality and cross-dressing.
6. What Part of Me Is It That You...?

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WOLS
Untitled
1938 (printed in 1979)
gelatin silver print
22.0×30.7cm

Eyes, ears, mouths, heads, hands, feet, fingers.... The Surrealists focused attention on individual body parts in close-up, as lone subjects or combined with landscapes and other elements to create rich imagery. The isolated parts of the body are freed from the roles that we take for granted, and each takes on a presence like an autonomous life form.

Works by Man Ray, André Kertész, and Umbo (Otto Umbehr) focusing on the eyes disrupt our sense of seeing vs. being seen. Another perspective that Surrealism introduced was attention to parts of the body less noticed in everyday life: Jacques-André Boiffard depicted the thumb and soles of the feet. Wols combined landscapes with legs. Hans Bellmer focused on the buttocks. In these photographs, we see the endeavors of artists to open up new relationships between human beings’ inner and outer worlds by showcasing the body, so seemingly obvious that is often overlooked, as an unknown “foreign object.”      
7. Grown-Ups at Play With Dolls

Among works of Surrealist art are those featuring dolls of various kinds, including mannequins, ball-jointed dolls, toys, and dolls made by hand. As something that seems to be constantly traversing the boundary between inanimate object and living thing, dolls are imbued with a transfixing power.

The living women and a mannequin in Paul Delvaux’s painting “L’Escalier” (Stairs) are similarly dressed in lace. “Les Derniers beaux jours,” illustrating the story of a man who taxidermies his dead wife, builds on the myth of Pygmalion, who falls in love with a statue he made, prays to the gods that she will become a living human being, and marries her. In works by Giorgio de Chirico and Max Ernst, mannequins replace human beings as the protagonists. Hans Bellmer created a life-sized jointed doll of a girl, deconstructed and reconstructed it, and photographed it in various indoor and outdoor settings, creating a dense world that could be called mythical. In these works we can see an inner human realm that can only be rendered visible through dolls.    

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WOLS
Untitled
1933 (printed in 1979)
gelatin silver print
24.7×24.0cm

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Man RAY
“Target”
1933 (reproduced in 1971)
mixed media
66.0×50.5×24.0cm
ⓒ MAN RAY TRUST / ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2017 C1768

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8. Approaches to Homage

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Man RAY
“Beau comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d’une machine à coudre et d’un parapluie”
ca.1935 (printed later)
gelatin silver print
20.2×27.9cm

The Surrealists were enthusiastic researchers of the history of art, philosophy and myth, identifying their illustrious forebears and creating homages to them. However, their homages often questioned all aspects of common sense and took on elaborate guises where it was not immediately apparent to whom they were dedicated.

Man Ray’s photograph is in fact a straightforward homage, giving visible form to a quotation from the poet the Comte de Lautréamont of great importance to the Surrealists: “Beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella.” By contrast “Fantastic Landscapes,” which heroically presented the emergence, success, and old age of patron Helena Rubinstein in three stages of a day, is an example of a highly complex approach. In the idealized figure of this businesswoman who built a huge fortune, Salvador Dalí delivered a sarcastic counterattack against his former ally André Breton, who had criticized Dalí by nicknaming him “Avida Dollars” (an anagram of “Salvador Dalí” meaning “eager for dollars”), by incorporating an alchemical text illustration that Breton greatly valued. 

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Salvador DALÍ
“Portrait géodésique de Gala”
1936
tempera on panel
21.0×27.0cm
ⓒ Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, JASPAR Tokyo, 2017 G0962 

The portrait could be called the most straightforward of approaches to homage, but then there are works like Max Ernst’s “Enfant Minerve,” which pay tribute to Leonardo da Vinci and the poet Paul Éluard but have no similarity whatsoever to either. As for the other Surrealist portraits presented here, are they any more straightforward?      
9. Methods of Transcending Death

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WOLS
“Végétal”
1947
oil on canvas
92.0×65.0cm

In Europe, gods and human beings have been differentiated as “immortal (those who do not die)” and “mortal (those who are destined to die).” To overcome this ancient, entrenched way of thinking, the Surrealists referenced ideas from Greek mythology and medieval and post-medieval alchemy in creating a wide range of innovative expressions.

Works by Man Ray and Wols feature subjects such as eggs and embryos that contain the beginnings of life. Hans (Jean) Arp produced many powerful images of writhing, formless creation. Wifredo Lam superimposed symbols of folk beliefs from his own Afro-Cuban background and the I Ching to the story of Adam and Eve motifs, opening the ancient Biblical narrative – of original sin and human beings’ destiny to suffer in birth, life, and death – to more universal images of the conflict and union of the yin (female) and yang (male) principles. In André Masson’s work depicting Narcissus and Echo, who died of love gone mad, the “transformation” of the heroes into flowers and forest spirits is a one major motif.      
10. Encounters Between Word and Image

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André MASSON
Illustration for “René Crevel ‘Feuilles eparsés’” published in 1965 (Louis Broder, Paris)
etching and aquatint
20.6×17.2cm
ⓒ ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR Tokyo, 2017 C1768

The Surrealists sought after “chance meetings,” seeking to disrupt viewers’ perceptions and awaken images submerged in the unconscious by bringing about unexpected juxtapositions and collisions between word and painting. René Magritte was among those most adept at this method. Magritte believed that “if the title of a landscape painting is simply the name of the location, or that of a portrait simply the name of the model or the role he or she has been assigned, that is just empty information. The best titles for paintings do not tell us anything like that, but are full of such poetry that they surely surprise and enchant the viewer” "Complete Writings of René Magritte,” Flammarion, 2009, pp.262-263, excerpted and translated from the French.)

Here we present works where, as in Magritte’s words, the title of a painting does not “explain” it, or illustrations do not merely “show scenes from” poetry and stories. We hope that the encounters the Surrealists present will resonate with each viewer’s own internal images and expand into deep dialogues that cannot be contained within a single interpretation.      
11. Is Surrealism a Style?

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KAWAGUCHI Kigai
“A Group” 1941
oil on canvas
116.7×73.0cm
donated by Mr. Kawaguchi Kyoson

Surrealism in Japan emerged in the mid-1920s from a literary group based around Nishiwaki Junzaburo and Takiguchi Shuzo. In visual art, Koga Harue and Kawaguchi Kigai first presented paintings in a style described as “Chogenjitsu-shugi (Surrealism)” at the 16th Nika-kai Exhibition in 1929, followed by a series of events that rapidly popularized the movement in Japan: André Breton’s “Surrealism and Painting” was published in a Japanese translation in 1930, Fukuzawa Ichiro’s works produced in Europe were exhibited at the 1st Dokuritsu Exhibition (1931), and art from overseas was actively sought out for the “Paris-Tokyo Shinko Geijutsu-ten” (Exhibition of New Art) in 1932. In 1937 the “Exhibition of Surrealist Works from Overseas,” featuring nearly 400 works and materials, traveled to five cities around the country. Surrealist works were produced even by young art students, based around the Shin Zokei Bijutsu Kyokai (New Plastic Art Association), which split off from the Dokuritsu Art Association.     

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EI-KYU
“Ballerina”
ca.1950
gelatin silver print
27.8×21.6cm

In Japan, Surrealism had ties with Proletarian Art and stood alongside abstraction as one of the two major modernist movements. It was sometimes criticized as an imported “style” lacking the integrity and continuity of homegrown art movements. However, the diverse Surrealist works that emerged in an oppressive era of rising militarism, without being constrained to any one style, pushed the boundaries of modern art in Japan in terms of both content and expression, and left a rich legacy that endures to this day.       
[Photography Gallery] Ishiuchi Miyako’s “Yokosuka Story”

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 ISHIUCHI Miyako
“Yokosuka Story #58”
1976-77
gelatin silver print
45.5×55.8cm
 ⓒ Ishiuchi Miyako

Ishiuchi Miyako (b. 1947) is a photographer based in Yokohama and Tokyo and highly acclaimed internationally. Her three early series “Yokosuka Story,” “Apartment,” and “Endless Night” consist of black and white photographs with a rough, grainy texture. Ishiuchi rose to prominence as a photographer with these images of Yokosuka streets, decrepit apartments, and buildings in former red light districts.

The “Yokosuka Story” series was Ishiuchi’s debut work and the point of departure for a photographic practice that continues to this day. Yokosuka is the city where she lived from the age of six to nineteen, yet she says it remains engraved permanently in her mind as a place where she never felt at home. Ishiuchi photographed the Yokosuka cityscape over a period of about one year, but was unable to shoot Dobuita Street, a hangout for troops from the local US naval base, which she had been warned since childhood not to visit as a woman alone. The prints, covered with the distinctive black particles of silver-halide photographs, overflow with complex emotions, including pain and despair, toward the city where the naval base is located.

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ISHIUCHI Miyako
“Yokosuka Story #30”
1976-77
gelatin silver print
45.6×55.9cm
ⓒ Ishiuchi Miyako

Here, we present 55 vintage prints developed by Ishiuchi in her Yokohama darkroom, along with a map (collection of the artist) that she used during shooting. Also exhibited are two photographs from the “Classmates” series (Yokohama Museum of Art collection), in which she photographed high school classmates at Yokosuka Port about 10 years after the “Yokosuka Story” series.     

Outline

Dates December 9 (Sat.), 2017- March 4 (Sun.), 2018      
Open Hours      10:00-18:00
*Open until 16:00 on March 1 (Thu.), 2018
*Open until 20:30 on March 3 (Sat.), 2018
*Admission until 30 minutes before closing.
ClosedThursdays (except March 1, 2018), December 28, 2017- January 4, 2018.
Organized byYokohama Museum of Art [Yokohama Arts Foundation]

Ticket

Adults\500(\400)
University students
High school students
\300(\240)                                             
Junior high school students\100(\80)                    
Children under 12Free

*( )= Group of 20 or more (pre-booking required)
*Free Admission for high school and younger student with valid ID on every Saturday.
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*Collection gallery is available with a ticket of Special Exhibition.