The Surreal House
Edited by Jane Alison
August 31, 2010
352 pages, 9 x 11 5/8
300 color illus.
Published in association with the Barbican Art Gallery
Through a unique blend of art, photography, film, and architecture, The Surreal House presents the individual dwelling as a place of mystery and wonder. Fusing house and dream, it probes the relationship between interior and shell, object and space, and it elaborates “the marvelous” and “compulsive beauty” as espoused by André Breton. The haunted house, the cabinet of curiosities, the ruined castle, the cage, the cave, the box, the labyrinth, the bell jar, and the womb are among the uniquely surreal habitats explored.
Shaped by the irrational and the subversive, the flip side of the modernist paradigm of the functional, rational dwelling, The Surreal House is ripe for discovery. Mirroring the surrealist love of poetic juxtaposition, the project brings together works by artists such as Edward Hopper, Marcel Duchamp, Giorgio de Chirico, Man Ray, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Joseph Cornell, and Salvador Dalí. A surreal legacy is to be found in the interiors of little-known Italian architect and designer Carlo Mollino, in Frederick Kiesler’s model for “The Endless House” (1957–59), in sculptures by Louise Bourgeois and Rebecca Horn, and in installations by Edward Kienholz and Ilya Kabakov. Contemporary architecture is represented by the work of Rem Koolhaas and Diller & Scofidio, among others.
A manifesto for a poetic reading of the house, The Surreal House reflects on the unquestionable importance of the dwelling, the cradle of our being, in the imaginative realm. This richly illustrated account brings together a host of commentators and historians, and accompanies a major exhibition.
Barbican Art Gallery 06/10/10–09/17/10