Date: 24 September 2001
The Surrealists were good. There they are, men in suits with mad-eyed pretty girlfriends.This show is full of images and therefore you can spend a long time looking at it, not rushing around and away like you do when everything must be finished in your head. Bits of women are everywhere, cut up, tied up, a tearful vagina, a sexy doll, a fuck-face. So obviously they were sexists, objectifying and boring.
The old group photos and the love letters transfixed me. Not the usual stuffy contextual material, they are full of life and passion, you peer at the surrealist's faces hoping to discover their romances. All the grey ugly London people have their noses pressed against the glass cases. We often criticize the surrealists for being too literal, like exclamation points after irony, Dali's a joke solely for dumbos, Miro's a poster-boy, but good art comes from bad ideas, you cannot go on without holding a foolish notion or method to be true.
Overall, as with the Tate M., there are few masterpieces, but still it is the best show I have seen there, the Czech surrealists were fucked-up, Miro an unusual painter, Bellmer boring, Giacometti out of his depth, Man Ray nudey, the Belgians! usually good, Breton a faded boss, Oppenheim lucky, Tanning weird, Dali. "desire, the sole motivating principle of the world, the only master that humans must recognize" A. Breton 1937. Revolutionaries never anticipate that the aspect of humanity they want to liberate may not exist forever.
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