Palazzo Venier dei Leoni
Surrealism and Magic: Enchanted Modernity is a joint exhibition project between the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Museum Barberini. It is the first large-scale international loan exhibition that looks at the movement’s interest in magic and the occult. Presenting about 60 works, in the Venetian venue, from over 40 international museums and private collections, it offers a rich overview of the entire development of the Surrealist movement, exploring the myriad ways, in which magic and the occult informed its artistic trajectory, from the “metaphysical painting” of Giorgio de Chirico around 1915, through Max Ernst’s iconic painting Attirement of the Bride (1940), to the occult imagery that underpinned the late works of Leonora Carringtonand Remedios Varo. In their works, Surrealist artists frequently drew on occult symbolism and cultivated the traditional image of the artist’s persona as a magician, seer, and alchemist, looking to magic as a poetic and deeply philosophical discourse, related to individual self-empowerment.
The exhibition’s point of departure is the world-class Surrealist holdings of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, containing iconic paintings that powerfully reflect the Surrealists’ dialogue with the occult tradition. Many of the artists represented in this show were exhibited during their lifetimes by Peggy Guggenheim, who emerged as one of the most energetic collectors and patrons of Surrealism toward the end of the 1930s. Having familiarized herself with the movement during her stay in Paris between the wars, she was on intimate terms with Max Ernst and André Breton, founder of the Surrealism with his Manifesto of Surrealism, published in October 1924.
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