Art Dalí, Magritte, Man Ray and Surrealism at Mudec in Milan
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Dalí, Magritte, Man Ray and Surrealism at Mudec in Milan

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Giorgia Massari
Surrealismo | Collater.al

Surrealism comes to Mudec in Milan with a new exhibition in collaboration with the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, which lends the Milanese museum a selection of 180 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, documents and artifacts. The exhibition, curated by art historian Els Hoek and professor Alessandro Nigro, will be on view from March 22 to July 30, 2023, and offers an immersive journey. In fact, the set-up follows the surrealist attitude, offering a variety of colors and psychedelic textures on the walls and floors, as well as video projections on the passage curtains and even a room with a fake lawn. The exhibition’s set-up and semi-dark setting concur in creating a mystical experience, in perfect accord with the selection of works on display that present a particular focus on the Surrealists’ interest in native cultures. In fact, in addition to the works of Surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Man Ray and Leonora Carrington, Section 6 “Strangely Familiar” presents a selection of ethnographic objects from Oceania and the Americas that underscores the close connection between non-Western artifacts and Surrealist poetics.
In this way, Mudec has the opportunity to present and enhance some artifacts generally kept in storage and not shown to the public, including the collection of the Milanese Alessandro Passaré.

The Surrealist exhibition – produced by 24 ORE Cultura and promoted by the City of Milan – opens Mudec’s 2023 cultural season and makes a hopeful wish. “It is an exhibition that we also wanted because of its significance,” says Federico Silvestri (General Manager Media & Business of the 24 ORE Group) “Today here we share a part of the work of extraordinary artists who gave breath to their creativity in a significant period, the one between the two wars. Through their work it was possible to see how even in the midst of dramatic events it is possible to be creative. It gives us a good omen. We hope that for us too, after such complex events, there can be a phase of rebirth and normalization that we all hope for.

The creativity of which Silvestri speaks is clearly expressed in the variety and vibrancy of the six sections that deal with the typical themes of Surrealism: psychoanalysis and psychiatry, the search for methods to reach the unconscious, the exploration of sexuality and the interest in native cultures. Pictorial and sculptural works are flanked by a series of creative objects that Surrealism helped create, such as Elsa Schiaparelli’s perfume department (inspired by Magritte) or Dali’s Mae West Lips-shaped sofa.
The journey takes the viewer on a 360-degree journey of discovery of Surrealism, in chronological but at the same time cross-cutting order, emphasizing how it was not a movement or a style but “an attitude, an alternative way of being and conceiving the world.

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Written by Giorgia Massari
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