The surrealist movement, definitely visible and theoretically debated with the publication of the Manifeste du Surréalisme (1924), written by André Breton (Tinchebray, France, 1896 - Paris, 1966) is a cosmology organised by and about Breton himself. His revolutionary pretensions, which are visible in all his publications, expositions and determinations, are understood as the will of general subversion (through action) in all areas of daily life, starting from poetry and art and moving to ethics, religion and politics. Thus, Surrealism is not only an artistic and literary expression, but a stance against the traditional values of culture and the bourgeois society and against realism in art. He supports the idea of an inner model in all creative acts, of otherness, absolute automatism (applied to poetic and artistic practice) as well as the adoption of meta-artistic methods that come from psychoanalysis, such as hypnosis, which allow the release of human consciousness and a return to a primitive and primordial state of thought.
This exhibition sets out to identify the surrealist movement with André Breton starting from the idea of his study, located in rue Fontaine in Paris, from 1924 to 1966, with a break when he has a long stay in the United States (1941-1946). In this way, not only is Breton the poet imposed, but also Breton the theorist and especially Breton the collector. Breton articulates his discourse through his vision and the layout of his works in the two spaces that make up his study (that is to say, the configuration of a place of wonder until experience), which is where he finds the linking of ideas and artistic and cultural manifestations relative to a world theorised as "supra-real" (released from a castrating consciousness). In this sense, Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, at the time of the exhibition, head curator of the Centre Georges Pompidou, asks rhetorically whether Breton "writes Le surréalisme et la peinture, between 1925 and 1927, relying mainly on the works which he has within view." It is therefore about demonstrating the relationships that exist in the confrontation of two languages, two worlds: the primitive and absolute modernity, what is desired and what is defended. On his shelves the view slides from one object to another and establishes a route, appealing to the secret provisions and the necessary shocks, ranging from masks from Gabon and New Guinea to paintings by Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí and Toyen, Alberto Giacometti's sculptures, surrealist objects by Man Ray or Óscar Domínguez, Haitian fetishes and New England totems.
As noted by Dominique Bozo, president at the time of the exhibition in Centre Georges Pompidou, "in that place [his study] the arts were liberated for the first time." The exhibition vindicates Breton’s personal studio from the relevance of his vision, as a method of approaching an artistic world governed by laws different from formal principles and which creates its own order from abundance and accumulation.
Musée National d'Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (April 25 - August 26, 1991)