Firstsite celebrates the work of the Suffolk-born surrealist and acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Humphrey Jennings in a new exhibition and a programme of film screenings.
Born in Walberswick in 1907 and educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, Jennings was an early member of the GPO Film Unit ' a subdivision of the General Post Office ' and co-founder of the social research organisation Mass Observation. Widely regarded as a pioneer of British documentary film he was once described by the director Lindsay Anderson as 'the only real poet' of British cinema.
This exhibition focuses on his work during the 1930s when he was a central figure within the British surrealist movement. Featuring paintings and collage on loan from key collections including Tate and Museum of London it includes a work first exhibition at the landmark 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in London, which he organised with Andre Breton, Roland Penrose and Herbert Read. Previous exhibitions of Jennings' work include surveys at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1951) and Riverside Studios, London (1982). Humphrey Jennings: Painting, Collage, Film is the first public exhibition dedicated to his work in thirty years.
The exhibition is accompanied by a series of special events including three programmes of Jennings' films presented by arrangement with the British Film Institute (BFI).