"THIS IS NOT A DREAM" Exhibition - Curatorial text

Inspired by the famous saying and work "This is not a pipe - Ceci n'est pas une pipe" by Belgian artist René Magritte, the exhibition "This is not a dream" is presented for the first time to Hanoi's art-loving audience works by two world-famous Surrealist painters René Magritte and Frida Kahlo.


The word "Surrealist" – Surrealist was first mentioned by French midfield poet Guillaume Apollinaire in the preface to a play performed in 1917. But only when André Breton, another Parisian poet who was also the leader of a group of European poets and artists wrote the Surrealist Manifesto in 1924, this concept gradually mentioned and entered into art history. Since then, surrealism has become a mainstream art movement, with strong political, philosophical and social currents that define the diverse and richly used creative methods of artists. Surrealism aims to revolutionize the human experience. It questions the boundary between reason, perception and the power of the unconscious and dreams.


Artists in this movement use art, film, and literature to find the magical and the uncanny in the seemingly unexpected and strange, the despised and the unusual, they let their unconscious mind be the focus while using a variety of techniques to map their dreams and deepest imaginations. Above all is the desire to challenge but imposed values and norms as well as to seek freedom.


Rene Magritte (Belgium, 1898-1967) and Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954) are two artists who come from two different backgrounds and continents, but can be seen as two extremes of the positive and negative of the school. Surrealism. As her own confession, Frida Kahlo wrote "I don't paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality", Rene Magritte wants to go deep into the human psyche to pose questions. Ask about awareness. Rene Magritte writes: “Things that are visible can be invisible. However, our ability to think captures both tangible and intangible things – and I use painting to make thoughts visible.” Frida Kahlo's Surrealist language is tinged with emotion and highly personal narrative, while Rene Magritte's Surrealist language is witty, sharp, intelligent but also poetic. A person who takes himself as the subject of seemingly endless creations. The other is almost never revealed, but not so that viewers can mistake his signature and style. The symbols of everyday life that seem so familiar and boring are arranged into mysterious layouts and stories.


As well as the message of the work "This is not a pipe" where Rene Magritte has created a situation where the viewer will have to wonder about the authenticity of whether this is a pipe or not or just doing something wrong. recreate a pipe. Whether the pipe is intrinsically named the pipe or just a social code that we humans give. The exhibition "This is not a dream" also wishes to open up many different questions, emotions, and reflections from the audience. As well as the desire to encourage a variety of readers to understand and perceive the various surrealist works desired by master artists. And to appreciate the value of works in the process of developing human awareness today.


In 2022, the Tate Modern Museum (London, UK) in collaboration with The Metropolitian Museum of Art (New York, USA) to launch the exhibition Surrealism Beyond Borders - Surrealism Beyond Borders, the first time in addition to presenting works of European Surrealism around 1920s Paris including work by Rene Magritte and Frida Kahlo. The exhibition also showcases how artists from around the world over the past 50 years have been inspired and bonded by surrealism – from as diverse as Buenos Aires, Cairo, Lisbon , Mexico City, Prague, Seoul and Tokyo. As well as to assert Surrealism is not just a style – but a state of mind. It helps artists challenge reality, tap into unconscious desires to bring dreams to life, and imagine a whole new world. And that is also the message "This is not a dream" wants to send to the art-loving audience.


Do Tuong Linh 

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