Max Ernst "FigurexScape"

Yokohama Museum Of Art

poster for Max Ernst "FigurexScape"

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Ever since the 1930s, Max Ernst (1891-1976) has been known in Japan as one of the leading artists of Surrealism together with Salvador Dali. In 1939, Japanese Surrealist painter Ichiro Fukuzawa wrote the first monograph on Ernst in Japanese. Ernst’s literary works, Beyond Painting as well as his three “collage novels,” were translated into Japanese in the 1970s and are today regarded as some of the most important books written by 20th century artists. A significant number of Japanese museums own his works. Large solo exhibitions were held in 1977, 1983 and 2001. Through these important exhibitions a number of Ernst’s masterpieces were shown in Japan, and the Japanese are now familiar with a variety of Ernst’s favorite techniques. However, unfortunately the techniques employed by Ernst were usually united or compared directly with the poetics or theory of Surrealists, and only occasionally discussed in terms of Ernst’s own interests and concerns. Furthermore, it must be said that the significance of his art for today’s Japanese artists has never been examined seriously.

This exhibition will explore the meaning of Max Ernst’s art for the contemporary Japanese by examining his works through two criteria: “figure” and “landscape”. These are the two most important components of his art throughout his career.

Various figures appear in Max Ernst’s oeuvre, for instance human beings, angels, birds and other animals, flowers and plants, chimerical beings, etc. These “figures” often have a name, for instance, Loplop, Belle Jardinière, or Marceline Marie, and assume the position of the protagonist within the work. These beings are created through techniques like collage or decalcomania, which relies heavily upon chance and not on the artist’s intention.

The exhibition will showcase around 130 art works by Max Ernst from his Dada period through his late career, 100 of which will come from Japanese museums and private collections.

[Image: Portrait of Max Ernst by Man Ray (c.1935) Gelatin silver print, 28.2 x 22.2cm. Collection of the Yokohama Museum of Art]


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From 2012-04-07 To 2012-06-24


Max Ernst



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