What it is
From April 11 to August 25, 2024
, the Castle of Monopoli offers an interesting new rendezvous with the international masters of the 20th century, hosting a fascinating group exhibition on Surrealism, the dream and the unconscious.

The exhibition includes original graphic works on paper (mostly lithographs, etchings, aquatints), by some important masters who have been part – in various ways and at various historical moments – of Surrealism, the avant-garde movement led by André Breton since 1924, so exactly one hundred years ago. Among the Surrealist artists featured in the exhibition are Hans Bellmer, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Leonor Fini, Wifredo Lam, René Magritte, André Masson, Sebastian Matta and Joan Miró.


Information

Through 6/30 hours 10am-2pm and 4pm-8pm;
from 1/7 to 25/8 hours 10am-1:30pm and 3:30pm-11pm;

Tickets

€10.00 full
Minors, people with disabilities, and journalists Free
Groups (8 and up) and Monopoli residents reduced €8.

Info and reservations: 339.16.45.444


BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILES OF THE ARTISTS

HANS BELLMER

He was born in Katowice in 1902. He initially worked as a draftsman for his own advertising company. Beginning in the mid-1930s he would carry on the project of dolls depicting life-size adolescent females that would make him famous, a project designed to oppose Nazi Party fascism by declaring that he would not make any work that supported the new German state. Represented by mutated forms and unconventional poses his dolls were directed specifically at a critique of the cult of the perfect body then dominant in Germany. His work was well received in the Parisian art culture of the time, especially among the Surrealists under André Breton, for its references to female beauty and the sexual attribution of youth. He helped the resistance during the war by making false passports and was imprisoned in the Camp des Milles prison in Aix-en-Provence for much of World War II. After the war, Bellmer lived the rest of his life in Paris where he died in 1975.

SALVADOR DALÌ

He was born in Figueras, Spain, in 1904. Dali was initially influenced by Futurism, then Cubism (1925). In April 1926 he made his first trip to Paris, where he visited Picasso; he would return there in 1929, on the occasion of the shooting of Bunuel’s film “Un chien andalou” (where Dali was co-scenarist); it was then that Mirò introduced him to the Surrealist group. Dali meets André Breton and Gala, his future companion and muse (Gala was then the wife of Paul Eluard). He joined the Surrealist group in 1929. Dali then became interested in Freud’s psychoanalytic theories and developed his “paranoid-critical” method. Recurring themes in the artist’s painted work as well as in etching are women, sex, religion, and battles. Dali will make a spectacle of himself throughout his career, mixing art and life, putting himself on display in all cases, so much so that he declared, “Surrealism is me.” He died in Barcelona in 1989.

MAX ERNST

Born in Brûl in 1891; studied philosophy, art history and psychiatry in Bonn. Began drawing at a very early age. After the war he joins the Dada movement in Cologne. After a first solo exhibition organized in 1921, he settled in Paris (1922). Two years later, he is among those who sign the “Manifesto of Surrealism” and participates in all the movement’s exhibitions. In 1920, he illustrates the poems of Eluard and those of the future Surrealists. He employs automatism and claims a Surrealist universe. In the 1920s he arrives at the different themes of “hallucinations,” recurring in his future work. Led to experimentation, he will develop new techniques (rubbing), make scrapings, pasted papers, and paintings with decals. At the outbreak of World War II, the painter is interned in a French detention camp because of his nationality. He managed to go into exile in the United States in 1941, thanks to Peggy Guggenheim, an art dealer and great collector whom Ernst married; they separated only a year later. It will be in the United States that Ernst will fine-tune the technique of “dripping” (collage). He died in Paris in 1976.

LEONOR FINI

She was born to an Argentine father of Benevento origins and a Trieste mother of German descent. Following her parents’ separation, mother and daughter returned to Trieste in 1909 as guests of her uncle; she was essentially a self-taught painter who assiduously frequented the ateliers of the best-known painters of those years. On the threshold of the 1930s she moved to Paris, a city that was to become, albeit amid continuous travel and intermediate stops, her adopted home. Here, she came into contact with the leading exponents of Surrealist painting and literature, from André Breton to Salvador Dalí, Paul Éluard to Max Ernst, and also met the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. With Max Ernst, who called her “the Italian fury in Paris,” she undertook a trip to New York, where the two exhibited at the Levy Gallery. Her connection with the theater, her surrealist novels, her passion for drawing and photography, her many loves, her being free and desecrating but also her original concept of fidelity and her love of life, trace the mirror of a unique artist personality who crosses the boundaries of painting to rightfully place herself among the greats of the twentieth century.

WIFREDO LAM

He was born in Sagua la Grande in 1902, the eighth child of a wealthy 84-year-old Chinese merchant and a mother of Afro-European descent. In the early fall of 1923 he embarked for Spain where he lived for 14 years. In 1929 he married Eva Piris by whom he had a son. In 1931 Eva and her son died of tuberculosis. In 1938 Lam met Pablo Picasso and got to know the painter’s friends-Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Paul Eluard, Georges Braque. In 1941 he left Europe for Cuba with André Breton, who wished to go to New York. But while he thought he would find his native island again, he was interned for forty days on a small island in Martinique. After staying on the island for ten years, he moved permanently to Paris at the age of fifty, but spent long periods in Italy, in Albissola Marina, sometimes alone, other times with his Swedish painter wife and their numerous all-male offspring. Lam’s style is the sum of the many pictorial currents he encountered during his long travels: his works are characterized by strokes similar to those of primitive graffiti, but there are also slight Cubist influences mixed in, all blended into a Surrealist atmosphere. He died in Paris in 1982.

RENÈ MAGRITTE

Born in Lessines, Belgium, in 1898, his father Léopold was a merchant. In 1910 they moved to Châtelet, where his mother Adeline two years later would die by throwing herself into the Sambre River; his beginnings as a painter moved within the twentieth-century avant-garde, assimilating influences from Cubism and Futurism. According to his own statement in one of his writings, his surrealist turning point came with his discovery of Giorgio De Chirico’s work, by which he was profoundly affected. In 1925 he entered his Surrealist period by joining the Brussels group, and painted his first Surrealist painting, “Le Jockey perdu,” while working on several publicity drawings. He died in 1966 in Brussels.

ANDRÈ MASSON

Born in Balagny-sur-Thérain in 1896, but moved with his family to Brussels where he began his artistic training. In 1912 he moved to Paris where he attended the Académie des beaux-arts, showing a strong interest in Cubism. In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, the artist was called to arms. In the course of the war he was seriously wounded in the chest and sent to convalesce in Paris. A large part of his artistic production in the 1920s appears influenced by the trauma of the war. In the early postwar period Masson came into contact with Surrealist circles through André Breton. Under the influence of the Surrealists, he experimented with various techniques of “automatic” artistic production, that is, linked to random factors, such as the technique of glue, sand and oil stains dripped onto the canvas. Masson believed that working in a reduced state of consciousness helped the artist break free from the control of rationality and come into full contact with the creativity of the unconscious: to achieve this he sometimes painted under the influence of drugs or by undergoing long periods of fasting or sleep deprivation. At the outbreak of World War II, Masson settled in New Preston, Connecticut, and with his work profoundly influenced abstract expressionists, such as Jackson Pollock. He died in Paris, in 1987.

ROBERTO SEBASTIAN MATTA ECHAURREN

He was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1911. After studying architecture, he moved to Paris in 1934 where he devoted himself to painting. In Paris he met André Breton and Salvador Dali in 1937; from 1938 he adhered to Surrealism, executing a painting attentive to the dreamlike, unconscious, excited dimension. He then began to participate in important events such as the International Exhibition of Surrealism at the Gallery of Fine Arts in Paris. He made his first Surrealist oils, which he first called “Psychological Morphologies” and then “Inscape.” He met Duchamp in Paris and in 1939 maintained contact with Pablo Neruda. At the outbreak of World War II he repaired to New York together with Yves Tanguy. There he had contact with the other Surrealists, the Dadaists and exerted a strong influence on many young artists, including Pollock, Rothko and Gorky. He influenced the birth of Abstract Expressionism and was in turn influenced by it. He died in 2002 in Civitavecchia.

JOAN MIRÒ.

Born in Barcelona in 1893, at 17 he was already working as an accountant in a grocery store, but, very interested in art, he drew and attended private drawing lessons from the age of eight. In 1912 not finding satisfaction in his work, after falling ill with typhoid, forced to quit his job, during his convalescence he decided to devote himself exclusively to painting. In 1920 he moved to Paris where, frequenting the painters of Montparnasse and the Dadaist circle of Tristan Tzara, he had stimulating intellectual contacts with emerging personalities such as Pablo Picasso. From the 1940s Miró lived permanently in Mallorca, his mother’s homeland, or Montroig; he developed an increasingly marked Surrealist style to the point that André Breton, founder of this artistic current, described him as “the most Surrealist of us all.” The artist became one of the most radical theorists of surrealism; in numerous writings and interviews he expressed his contempt for conventional painting, expressing a desire to “kill it” in order to arrive at new means of expression. He died in 1983.

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