February 12, 2020 - Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt - Fantastic Women
February 12, 2020

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

Frida Kahlo, Selfportrait with thorn necklace, 1940, Oil on canvas mounted to board, Collection of Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Nickolas Muray Collection of Modern Mexican Art © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

Fantastic Women
Surreal Worlds from Meret Oppenheim to Frida Kahlo
February 13–May 24, 2020

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Römerberg
60311 Frankfurt am Main
Germany

www.schirn.de
www.schirn.de/en/magazine/
www.schirn.de/en/digitorial/
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Fantastic Women
Surreal Worlds from Meret Oppenheim to Frida Kahlo
February 13–May 24, 2020

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Römerberg
60311 Frankfurt am Main
Germany

www.schirn.de
www.schirn.de/en/magazine/
www.schirn.de/en/digitorial/
Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Instagram / Pinterest / #Schirn / #FantasticWomen

For the first time, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt examines the female contribution to Surrealism in a major survey exhibition and reveals that the participation of women artists in the movement was considerably larger than generally known or previously portrayed. Goddess, she-devil, doll, fetish, child-woman or wonderful dream creature—in various guises, women were the central subject of male Surrealist fantasies. As companions or models, female artists initially found their way into the circle surrounding André Breton, the founder of the Surrealist group. Yet they quickly broke out of those traditional roles and confidently created independent works of art, differing from their male colleagues above all in their reversal of perspective: they questioned their own reflection or took on different roles in search for a (new) model of female and artistic identity.

Dr. Philipp Demandt, Director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, explains: “With Fantastic Women, the Schirn Kunsthalle Franfurt is presenting a premiere: with some 260 works by 34 women artists we will give our visitors a whole new perspective on Surrealist art. The exhibition is a comprehensive and unprecedented overview of the decidedly female side of Surrealism. And the research underlying it aims to finally and conclusively complement the account of this crucial movement in art.”

The exhibition focuses on women artists who were directly associated with the Surrealist movement founded in Paris in the early 1920s, though sometimes only for a short period. They knew Breton personally, exhibited with the group, contributed to publications, or considered Surrealist ideas from a theoretical point of view. The unconscious, dreams and chance, myths and metamorphoses, literature and contemporary political events as well as material experiments and staged photography – many of these familiar themes of Surrealism are also characteristic of the work done by women.

Dr. Ingrid Pfeiffer, curator of the exhibition, points out: “In no other artistic movement of Modernism women played such a central role and were involved in such large numbers as in Surrealism. And yet to this day, many of their names and works are missing in publications and survey exhibitions. The women artists presented at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt adopted the ideas of the Surrealist group in unique ways and pursued them further in highly individual works. Seeing them together, we gain better insight into the international network, the incredible diversity and the impressive independence of both the better and lesser-known women artists of Surrealism. After all, Surrealism was a state of mind rather than a style.”

Besides well-known figures like Louise Bourgeois, Claude Cahun, Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Meret Oppenheim, and Dorothea Tanning, numerous as yet lesser-known artists from more than three decades of Surrealist art, such as Toyen, Alice Rahon, and Kay Sage, also await discovery. The exhibition features representative selections of works by each of the artists, while at the same time reflecting topographic regions, networks, and friendships among the women artists in Europe, the US, and Mexico. 

An exhibition of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt in cooperation with the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk.

The exhibition could not have been realized without the support of the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain and the Dr. Marschner Stiftung. Additional support has been provided by the Bank of America as partner of the Schirn 2020.

A catalog edited by Ingrid Pfeiffer has been published in an English and German edition. It includes a preface by Philipp Demandt, SCHIRN, and Poul Erik Tøjner, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk. With essays by Patricia Allmer, Tere Arcq, Kirsten Degel, Heike Eipeldauer, Annabelle Görgen-Lammers, Rebecca Herlemann, Karoline Hille, Silvano Levy, Alyce Mahon, Christiane Meyer-Thoss, Laura Neve, Ingrid Pfeiffer, and Gabriel Weisz Carrington as well as biographies of the individual artists and color reproductions of the works.
A free digital tutorial guide, the Digitorial®, is available online here.

Director: Dr. Philipp Demandt
Curator: Dr. Ingrid Pfeiffer
Press contact: Johanna Pulz (Head of Press/Public Relations):
presse [​at​] schirn.de / T (+49 69) 29 98 82 148
Press materialwww.schirn.de/en (texts, images, and films for download under PRESS)

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