Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Poetry of Dreams...

On Saturday Dylan and I bused it over to South Brisbane with a couple of friends and met up at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) with my twin sister, her husband and their little boy to see the Surrealism: The Poetry of Dreams exhibition. The seven of us explored the exhibition and then delighted in the children's section downstairs where we created surreal collages, before getting lunch at the gallery cafe by the river.

It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday. The artworks are on loan from the Pompidou in Paris and there was a great array of paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures on display. Personally I didn't enjoy how it had been curated. I find that with these "blockbuster" style of exhibitions they try to make the experience rather idiot proof by creating basically a pathway to follow to see the exhibition. While this might streamline things when their are big crowds, it also created a series of ugly chambers and small rooms, and you would shuffle from one un-aesthetically shaped room to another.

I liked that the walls had been painted grey, but I didn't like how dimly lit the whole exhibition was, I think it was more for film display purposes (there were projected surrealist films scattered throughout the exhibition), rather than conservation. The dim lighting meant that as you walked into the Dada section at the beginning of the exhibition (a great idea to help contextualise Surrealism), you found yourself confronted with Duchamp's Bottle Rack suspended mid air and lit artistically to produced wonderful shadows. The problem for me was that with the suspension and lighting, the bottle rack became less of a "ready-made" and more of a vintage nostalgic fetish object.

Whilst I enjoyed the exhibition, especially the photographs by Man Ray and Dora Marr and the children's activities, I wouldn't advise you to go along if you are expecting to see a lot of Dali and Magritte paintings. There are wonderful things to see that you probably can't see anywhere else in Australia, like a Magritte sculpture and exquisite corpse drawings and collages; but for mine, I wish that the gallery had utilised space better to blend the films, lighting and rooms together to make a more aesthetically pleasing show and had borrowed some more works from interstate galleries to augment the exhibition.

Vintage clip art available here to make your own Surrealist inspired collages.


  1. Great review Fiona. It'll be interesting to see this. Kx

  2. This is a really great review, Fiona. I'm not sure whether I will bother going to this exhibition as I am not a huge fan of Surrealist art anyway. Give me Impressionism any day. However, I do like the concept of vintage collage for a hands on experience. Clare

  3. Thanks Fiona,
    So glad to discover your blog.
    And thanks for the vintage clip art link!


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