September 24, 2009

Angels of Anarchy


Last night, we attended the preview of Angels of Anarchy at Manchester Art Gallery.
There was a big crowd, which made looking at the show not so easy - previews generally are not the best time to actually see an exhibition. Rarely for the Gallery, this show made me think I would probably go back to see it without the crowd. I admit that my interest in surrealism has always been limited so my knowledge of women surrealists, who, as Jeanette Winterton pointed out in her opening remarks, are as marginalised as most women in avant-gardes. Therefore it was pretty much all new for me (except vaguely Lee Miller.) I found that the works which I most frequently looked at the label to see who had done pieces that stood out were consistently by Eileen Agar (
http://www.redfern-gallery.co.uk/pages/artistinfo/121.html ), her self-portrait in pen & ink of 1928 was a beautiful drawing made somewhat poignant by the inscription "for peter". "Ladybird" is another worth seeking out and her collage "A Thousand Thanks. Letter to E.L.T. Mesens" is a great piece.

The photography of Emila Medkova was also a powerful discovery for me. I'll also recommend an exquisite still-life watercolour "Caballito Mexicana" by Frida Kahlo. One or two Dora Maar's stood out too.
The disappointing aspect of the show is in the curation. It goes for rather predictable thematic categories - "portrait/self-portrait", "still life", "interiors". In the latter section, I could only write "nil" in my note book, and again in the section "surreal objects" - nil.

http://www.manchestergalleries.org/angelsofanarchy/






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