surrealism

Enchanted Ground: André Breton, Modernism and the Surrealist Appraisal of Fin-de-Siècle Painting by Gavin Parkinson

French surrealism at mid-twentieth century was marked (some would say, marred) by André Breton’s new-found interest in esoteric knowledge—a period, argues Gavin Parkinson in his latest book, in which surrealism “willingly entered a critical and theoretical wilderness with its advocacy of magic and occultism in its art, poetry and theory, and its insistence on the ‘indispensable condition of enchantment’—the impenetrable nucleus of resistance to human inquiry that exists within any system of knowledge” (322). Parkinson’s justification for what he calls surrealism’s “journey into obscurity,” is an accomplished revisionist account of what has been treated as surrealism’s most misguided moment, one that Parkinson has successfully complicated—and recuperated—with the movement’s engagement with metaphor, symbolism, regional medievalism, and abstraction, as articulated by Breton’s concurrent assessment of fin-de-siècle French painting (323).

Surviving Fascism? “Art and Liberty” in Egypt, 1938-1948

“Well this exhibition feels a little too timely,” my colleague Clare Davies posted to Facebook during a November 21, 2016 visit to Art et liberté: Rupture, guerre et surréalisme en Egypte (1938-1948) at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The exhibit—a major contribution to contemporary