Exactly a hundred years after French poet Guillaume Apollinaire invented the term surrealism, The White Cube’s latest exhibition Dreamers Awake explores this art movement through the work of fifty female artists. Fellow Frenchman Andre Breton is credited with kick starting the revolution but today it has influenced the work of many artists, some of whom you wouldn’t immediately associate with its core tenets.
The 170 works at their Bermondsey gallery range from classically surreal Daliesque photography to the splashes of consciousness in Tracy Emin’s scrawled canvases. Look out for her curious joint effort with French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois It Doesn’t End (archival dyes printed on cloth). Bourgeois is more known for her dinosaur-sized Spider sculptures at the Tate Modern but this partnership is indicative of the range of mediums and approaches on display – sculpture, paintings, drawings, collages all with references to the accidental, whimsical, and sometimes unedited streams of consciousness.
The voluminous four galleries housing the work may appear daunting without reference to who the artists are (there are no labels) and even with the number-coded gallery guide you may well lose your way and bin the thing but regardless this is exceptional curating and there’s an air of magnificence about this joint show, bridging as it does the historic movement with the likes of Sarah Lucas who uses it as a tool for playful and ironic commentary on sex and death.
Dreamers Awake, White Cube Bermondsey, until September 17.