This thematic exhibition brings together over 100 works by women artists to explore sexual politics, eroticism, mysticism and identity. Rarely seen paintings by key figures associated with the original Surrealist movement, such as Eileen Agar and Leonora Carrington, are shown alongside modern and contemporary artists including Louise Bourgeois & Tracey Emin, Claude Cahun, Mona Hatoum, Linder, Laurie Simmons, Gillian Wearing, Hannah Wilke and many more.
Curator Susanna Greeves explains: "From its earliest days, women were drawn to Surrealism’s emphasis on personal, artistic and political liberty. By foregrounding bodily experience, artists have transformed the ‘Surrealist Woman’ from a symbolic figure to a sentient, thinking being, and a site of self-expression, resistance and creative energy."
Expanding on those who identify as Surrealists, the exhibition charts the impact of surrealist sensibilities on art over the decades, showing how the language and ideas of the movement can be recognised in a wide variety of artists’ work. These range from those who create alternative realities or invent fetishistic objects, to those who channel the creativity of the subconscious or play with gender identity.
Dreamers Awake includes new works by emerging international artists Kelly Akashi, Carina Brandes, Sascha Braunig, Hayv Kahraman, Jordan Kasey and Caitlin Keogh.
The exhibition features paintings, sculpture, film, photography and installation, and runs across all three galleries at White Cube Bermondsey from 28 June to 17 September 2017. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by art historian Dr Alyce Mahon, author of Eroticism and Art (2005, 2007) and Surrealism and the Politics of Eros, 1938-1968 (2005).