Surrealism

Claude Cahun, one of the real-life subjects of Rupert Thomson’s novel. Credit: Jersey Heritage

Never Anyone But You, by Rupert Thomson reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

In a 2013 interview with a Canadian newspaper, Rupert Thomson acknowledged the strange place he occupies in the literary world.…

‘The First Days of Spring’, 1929, by Salvador Dalí

As a visual experience it is less than overwhelming: Dalí/Duchamp reviewed

21 October 2017 9:00 am

During a panel discussion in 1949, Frank Lloyd Wright made an undiplomatic comment about Marcel Duchamp’s celebrated picture of 1912,…

Journey to Timbuktu and beyond

9 September 2017 9:00 am

Every so often a monster comes along. Here’s one — but a monster of fact not fiction, over 700 pages…

‘Statue (Double Check by Seward Johnson), New York, 11 September 2001’, 2001, by Jeff Mermelstein

From Mussolini’s car to the Twin Towers: a history of dust

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Aren’t you getting a little sick of the white cube? I am. I realised how sick last week after blundering…

‘Man Pointing’, 1947, by Alberto Giacometti

It’s hard to imagine a better overview: Giacometti at Tate Modern reviewed

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Size, of course, matters a great deal in art; so does scale — which is a different matter. The art…

The cast’s talents are not put to good use: Thomas Adès’s Exterminating Angel reviewed

29 April 2017 9:00 am

The Adèsives were out in force at Covent Garden last Monday for the UK première of their hero’s third opera,…

Leonora Carrington’s adventures in surrealism

15 April 2017 9:00 am

The surrealists’ muse and a distinguished artist in her own right, Leonora Carrington captivated all who met her, says Jane Rye

‘Schicksalslinien/Be-Ziehungen VIII’ (‘Lines of Fate’/’Re-lations VIII’), 1994, by Maria Lassnig

Is collage the natural idiom for our cut-and-paste society?

1 April 2017 9:00 am

How do you make a work of art? One method is to cut things up and stick them back together…

A story of three bears — and what it means to be human

25 March 2017 9:00 am

In Yoko Tawada’s surreal and beguiling novel we meet three bears: mother, daughter and grandson. But there will be no…

Slyly surreal: Christopher Alden’s Partenope at ENO

Denial has rarely looked so good: ENO’s Partenope reviewed

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Ceci n’est pas une Partenope. Forget the warring classical kingdoms of Naples and Cumae: this is surrealist Paris in the…

China Mieville’s counterfactual novel is a chilling, surreal caprice

25 February 2017 9:00 am

At the start of this novella the protagonist, Thibaut, is ambushed by Wehrmacht soldiers between the ninth and tenth arrondissements.…

Visionary: ‘Battle of Germany’, 1944, by Paul Nash

Wonderfully mellow, rich and strange: Paul Nash at Tate Britain reviewed

29 October 2016 9:00 am

In 1932 Paul Nash posed the question, is it possible to ‘go modern’ and still ‘be British?’ — a conundrum…

Nose job: Shostakovich’s ‘The Nose’ at the Royal Opera House

A terrifically good nose job: Royal Opera's The Nose reviewed

29 October 2016 9:00 am

The Royal Opera’s latest production is Shostakovich’s The Nose and to paraphrase Mark Steyn, whatever else can be said about…

Anicet, the great Dadaist novel

17 September 2016 9:00 am

Anicet is, as its cover proclaims, a Dadaist novel, reissued on the centenary of its composition. Louis Aragon would doubtless…

The devil’s in the detail: from ‘The Last Judgment’ triptych

The enduring mystery of Hieronymus Bosch

13 August 2016 9:00 am

To call Nils Büttner a killjoy is perhaps a little unfair, but not very. The professor at Stuttgart’s State Academy…

The internal dreamworld of René Magritte

6 August 2016 9:00 am

Surrealism was, at least initially, as much about writing as painting. A plaque on the Hotel des Grands Hommes in…

‘Apple Blossoms’, 1873, by Charles-François Daubigny

The man who who invented impressionism

23 July 2016 9:00 am

The last boat I saw in the galleries on the Mound was a canoe that the Scottish painter Jock McFadyen…

Roland Penrose sculpting

The surreal life — and loves — of Roland Penrose

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Roland Penrose: The Life of a Surrealist

Matilda Bathurst chooses the best recent short story collections

22 August 2015 9:00 am

‘I just wanted the damn story to ask the right questions,’ sighs a disaffected journalist in Jack Livings’s debut collection…

‘Untitled (Tilly Losch)’, c.1935–38, by Joseph Cornell

Poetic or pretentious? Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust at the Royal Academy reviewed

4 July 2015 9:00 am

Someone once asked Joseph Cornell who was his favourite abstract artist of his time. It was a perfectly reasonable question…

Why is a fish like a bicycle? Pedro Friedeberg’s letters to Duncan Fallowell may provide a clue at last

11 April 2015 9:00 am

Duncan Fallowell on the elusive Mexican artist and man-of-letters who has been his friend and faithful correspondent over many years —  though they have never met

‘The Giantess’ by Leonora Carrington, currently on show at Tate Liverpool

A mad menage — and menagerie - in Mexico: the life of Leonora Carrington in fictional form

28 March 2015 9:00 am

Leonora Carrington is one of those jack-in-the-boxes who languish forgotten in the cultural toy cupboard and then pop up every…

Chico, Harpo and Groucho Marx (left to right) enjoy a day at the races

What unites Churchill, Dali and T.S. Eliot? They all worshipped the Marx Brothers

10 January 2015 9:00 am

Ian Thomson celebrates the anarchic genius of Groucho and his brothers

‘Sunrise’, 1938, by John Armstrong

Are the British too polite to be any good at surrealism?

22 November 2014 9:00 am

The Paris World’s Fair of 1937 was more than a testing ground for artistic innovation; it was a battleground for…

‘Flying Rock’

Floating bodies, seeing hands, rippling skies - is Jerry Uelsmann’s photomontage a tragic dead-end?

30 August 2014 9:00 am

An untitled photograph by Jerry Uelsmann from 1991 shows a rock like Magritte’s floating in the sky between an Ansel…