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WHAT IS IT?
Surrealism changed the face of art and design forever, spearheading an unpredented exploration of the body and mind. Challenging attitudes about eroticism and psychology, life and death, the Surrealists harnessed the notion of the unconscious to depict what was taboo in contemporary society. Despite the progressive vision of its artists, many of the creatives central to Surrealism are overlooked in art history, and it remains the western male elite who are most celebrated amongst its number.
Artists today continue to channel the subversive potential of the Surrealist ethos whilst critiquing the more exclusive elements of the Surrealist Manifesto. Acknowledging the contributions of women, queer and non-western artists to Surrealism, this special after hours opening celebrates the underrepresented voices who were integral in it’s formation, and the contemporary practitioners who are pushing forward the movement’s legacy.
Visitors will hear from contemporary Surrealists Irenosen Okojie and Hamed Maiye, art historian Alyce Mahon and performative platform Tour de Moon. A series of talks will explore the continued influence of Afro-Surrealism, the role of women and genderqueer artists in the 20th century, and methods to support the next generation of Surrealist creatives, whilst drop in workshops offer the opportunity to create Surreal designs of your own.
Automatic Art Workshops Creative Workshop and Common Room
-18.30 – 21.00
Try your hand at surrealist art-making with automatic drawing, pair up to play exquisite corpse game, or channel Elsa Schiaparelli to create surrealist accessories .
Surreal Salon Auditorium
-18.00: Tour De Moon Talks
Nelly Ben Hayoun’s Tour De Moon project is deeply inspired by Surrealism and the theatre of Antonin Artaud. As the founder and Creative Director of Tour De Moon, Nelly discusses how she’s using the creative platform to empower the next generation of Surrealist artists, musicians and poets through parties and performances. With Tour De Moon youth reporter Dionne Scougul and filmmaker Kes Eccleston.
-18.40: Screening of Many Moons Ago by Kes Eccleston
Divided into four chapters, Many Moons Ago explores the moon’s influence on the magic and dynamism of blackness, motherhood and African spirituality.
-19.00: Afro Surrealism Then and Now
The term "Afro-surreal Expressionism" was coined by Amiri Baraka in his 1974 essay on Black Arts Movement writer Henry Dumas, though an Afro Surrealism as inspired by but distinct from European Surrealism can be traced to Suzanne Césaire’s discussion of the “revolutionary impetus of surrealism” in the 1940s. In this conversation, writer Irenosen Okojie and artist-designer Hamed Maiye discuss how Surrealism shapes their exploration of the black experience.
-19.50: Gender and 20th Century Surrealism
Claude’s Cahun’s Disavowels text has become seminal in deconstructing the gender tropes that were so rigidly adhered to by the French surrealists. In this talk, Art Historian Alyce Mahon speaks to the surrealist artists past and present who used its motifs to turn conservative notions of gender and sexuality on their head.
• The exhibition will be open to visitors, with last entry at 7.45.
• The event and exhibition are ticketed separately. Access to the talks will be granted to event ticket holders only.
• The Design Museum shop and café will be open in our atrium throughout the event.
• Drop-in workshops will be accessible to members of the public with or without an event ticket.