77. Day 14 in England: Surrealism at The Tate Modern and St. Paul Cathedral

We always knew there would be a second visit to the Tate Modern, so after I saw Christine off at the Brockley Overground station, we set off on another VERY hot day. An air-conditioned communing with the Surrealists seemed like just the thing. And indeed, the Surrealism exhibit was truly extraordinary. I saw many of my favorites, and discovered lots of artists I was not familiar with. What a feast!

I’ve tried to mostly include identification after the art. I missed only a few, I think.

Tongues, by Anu Poder.
Tongues cast in soap. The bowl above holds one of the tongues slowly dissolving in water.
We love our art with lots of concrete.
Something from the collection that I missed on our prior visit. The fascination for me is the information about the paint mixing.
Leon Golub, Winged Sphinx, 1972. I love this, having just seen the Sphinx sculpture at the British Museum a couple of days prior. “Part human, part machine, part computer intelligence. Beyond human, in a sense. Real, but simulated. Powerful – more powerful than you or me. Yet vulnerable, too, but not exactly in the way we are vulnerable. The sphinxes were the cyborgs of their age.”
I love this depiction of the sheela na gig by Nancy Spero! I first discovered this Celtic goddess when in Ireland in 1985, visiting the Rock of Cashel. I love her so much, I have a lovely silver figure of her on a necklace I bought there. A stone figure stands outside the ruined cathedral there, adapted by Christians to be a symbol “against evil.” They did that sort of thing a lot, which is why all Christian holidays are in direct proximity date-wise to Pagan holidays.

Following are photos of some of my favorite paintings/pieces from the Surrealism exhibit. This was a hugely varied exhibit, with the works of many men and women across the globe. It’s a testament to the reach and importance of the Surrealist movement. Some of the photos have the painting info following, others only note artist, title, and year.

Fernand Léger, Leaves and Shell, 1927
Kazimir Malevich, Dynamic Suprematism, 1915 or 1916
Dorothea Tanning, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1943. I was thrilled as always to see a canvas by one of my favorite artists. I love her twicely because she was Max Ernst’s partner and a known and respected artist before she met him.
I find Cornell’s enigmatic shadowboxes fascinating, always. Sorry about the funky reflections.
Wifredo Lam, not sure of title. One of the few instances of iPhone camera fail.
“No Use to Talk about the Little Wig” — OMG this is hilarious! Some of the male surrealists could be so humorless, this is a nice break from their self-seriousness.
Ah, another Sphinx!
One of the surrealists definitely *not* lacking in humor, Max Ernst.
And another self-effacing and hilarious artist, Enrico Baj. I had never heard of him prior to this trip’s visits to the Tate. Here’s some more of his delightful work.
Another new-to-me artist, Wilhelm Freddie.
Central figure looks a little like an anime cat!
This is also one of my favorites of the show, by another artist I was unfamiliar with.
I fell in love with Toyen on my list visit to Prague. They are well represented at the National Gallery there, along with many other marvelous Czech surrealists.
Creepy and wonderful.
I think I see a kitty.
Why yes, those are kitties!
Beautiful detail in this, and kitties!
Sorry the photos are out of order to the description!
One of my favorites of the show, yet another sphinx!
I never tire of Carrington’s work. She was a brilliant and iconoclastic.
I often confuse Tanguy with Dali at first glance. On closer inspection, his palette is often softer and his imagery more spacious and abstract. He rarely paints an actual *thing*. His shapes look like they should be *things* but they are not. Here’s a nice, informal piece about Tanguy.
(Not sure why my camera started glitching out on the printed info cards.)
I love how this kinda looks like a dance party or orgy at first, then you see it’s a violent confrontation.
And yet more cats!! Well, one anyway.

I was thrilled and delighted to see one of my favorite works of Max Ernst, “Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale.” Here’s a nice description of it from the NY MOMA (where I first saw it many, many years ago).

St. Paul’s Cathedral. We didn’t go inside.
Great Suffering Becket!
A child callously tromping on Suffering Becket.
St. Paul again.
My favorite view of St. Paul. And Really Great David.

Only two full days left in the UK. Starting to feel like it’s time to head home. Yup.

15 July 2022


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