The Surrealism art movement with its imaginary worlds and creatures, often created by distorting everyday and illogical objects and scenes, developed in the early 1920’s by artists such as Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali and Max Ernst.
Exploring the subconscious, there were feminist accusations that the movement often played to masculine stereotypes; on the other hand several female artists embraced the style including Leonora Carrington and Dorothea Tanning (both of whom had relationships with Max Ernst).
Almost a century later, the current exhibition “Dreamers Awake” at the White Cube Bermondsey argues that artists such as Tracey Emin, Rachel Kneebone and Loiuse Bourgeois continue the Surrealist tradition, one of the most traditionally-surrealist works on show being Shana Moulton’s video production “My Life as an INFJ” from 2015-6.
Over 50 artists are on show, from early figures such as Lee Miller, Eileen Agar, Marian Adnam and Claude Calun, and later works by Leonora Carrington and Dorothea Tanning and then the majority of works from the last twenty years or so.
Many of the works are meaningful, witty and amusing, others reinforce the tensions which still exist in the modern world, despite all the progress with sexual equality, with some images showing women as the subject of male desire; others reflecting on women as creative warm and deeply-thinking individuals.
An excellent exhibition which examines both the role of female artists in Surrealism, but also how the movement has morphed and transformed into the 21st century.