In a landmark exhibition and a triumphant coup for the Vancouver Art Gallery, the most comprehensive exhibition of the Surrealist movement to date is being uniquely exhibited and featured in Vancouver, Canada. Comprising over 350 works by leading Surrealist artists including Andre Breton, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, Joan Miro and Man Ray, “The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art” is a wonderful and unusual exhibition specially created for the Vancouver Art Gallery. The exhibition is an exciting visual and knowledgeable display of one of twentieth century’s most important artistic movements (the show will not travel to anywhere else in the world once finishing). Guest curated by Dawn Ades, a renowned expert on Surrealist art based in the United Kingdom, the exhibition features a fascinating exploration of the interest and influence that many Surrealist artists had for Pacific Northwest Indigenous Art—A rare and intriguing connection between the two art movements never made before. Known Surrealist artists such as Breton, Enrico Donati, and Wolfgang Paalen are documented in the exhibition as citing Indigenous art as a formative influence in their construction of the Surrealist movement. “The Colour of My Dreams” exhibition is showcasing many stunning works borrowed from the world’s leading private and public institutions such as the Centre George Pompidou, Museo Nacional Centro de Art Reina Sofia, and the Guggenheim New York. The exhibition also includes a formidable Kwakwaka’wakw headdress from Alert Bay, British Columbia as well as five Yup’ik masks from Alaska, belonging to the collection of Andre Breton and Enrico Donati respectively. The exhibition catalogue reveals that Breton began collecting Indigenous art from the Northwest Coast after he arrived in New York as an exiled European artist during World War II. The “Colour of My Dreams” exhibition also correlates and traces the influence of Surrealism on early silent cinema. Performers such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton are two of a number of well-known actors of the time period featured in silent films interspersed throughout the exhibition.

Salvador Dali’s presence is particularly notable in the exhibition, featuring his iconic work Lobster Phone, a sculpture of a lobster and telephone hybrid object. Other notable artworks include Max Ernst’s painting The Forest, Man Ray’s film Emak-Bakia, as well as Dora Maar’s Pere Ubu, featuring the uncanny photograph of an armadillo fetus. The exhibition also showcased wonderful works by Joseph Cornell, an American Sculptor active in the Surrealist movement often overlooked in group exhibitions. Cornell’s work Beehive (Thimble Forest) features five thimbles placed strategically in a honeycomb colored music box, representative of the hive and bees. Trade winds # 2 features a more nautical and geographical theme featuring a map background against a wooden box used as a diorama.

The Colour of My Dreams” is a comprehensive fantasy of knowledge and breadth that is quite rare and is an exhibition not to be missed.

The Colour of My Dreams
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC
Tel.: 604 662-4719
May 28th-September 25th 2011