Saturday, 6:41am
26 June 2010

Beautiful confusion

the events department
Visual culture

Disorientation is the rule at the Barbican’s thoroughly surreal show

Conventional gallery space has been subverted for The Surreal House, the Barbican Art Gallery’s current exhibition of surrealist art, sculpture and film.

Architects Carmody Groarke have divided the space using several ‘house’ forms to provide a home for the artwork. Senior Curator Jane Alison explains: ‘the surreal “marvellous” is that which turns the universe upside down, something that makes you see the world differently … my vision was to use the Gallery to create an extraordinary “housing” for the exhibits, to take people on a journey into the mind of the house. This presented a wonderful opportunity for architect and curator to actively explore how architectural space can draw on surrealism.’

10. Rebecca Horn, Concert for Anarchy, 1990

Above: Rebecca Horn, Concert for Anarchy, 1990

Top: Man Ray, untitled, 1920. New York, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Interconnected rooms carve up the space, disorienting visitors with shifts in light levels and colour as they move between claustrophobic and expansive spaces. More than an exercise in disorientation, each new area is designed with each specific artwork in mind. At the same time, several apertures allow visitors to see between spaces, blurring any concrete connection between rooms and exhibits. For more on surrealism (and its place in graphic design), see ‘Graphics and the uncanny’ on the Eye blog.

Below: Salvador Dalí, Sleep, ca. 1937.

1. Salvador Dalí, Sleep, c. 1937

> 12 September 2010
The Surreal House
Barbican Art Gallery
Barbican Centre, Silk Street
London EC2Y 8DS

See the events page for details of other graphic design events and exhibitions.

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