Surrealism

Haunted by a black cat: Earwig, by Brian Catling, reviewed

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Genuinely surrealist novels are as rare as hen’s teeth. They are a different form from the magic realist, the absurdist,…

The stuff of nightmares: ‘The Five Firemen’, 1938, by Grace Pailthorpe

British surrealism at its most remarkable and nightmarish

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Holding the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936 was a coup for the British avant-garde, putting newbie surrealists such…

Soft cell: ‘Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202’, 1970–73, by Dorothea Tanning

Wicked, humorous and high-spirited: Dorothea Tanning at Tate Modern reviewed

16 March 2019 9:00 am

Art movements come and go but surrealism, in one form or another, has always been with us. Centuries before Freud’s…

Apocalypse now: ‘Wood near My House, Somerset’, c.1991, by Don McCullin

Few soldiers have seen as many terrible sights as Don McCullin

23 February 2019 9:00 am

Diane Arbus saw mid-20th century New York as if she was in a waking dream. Or at least that is…

Claude Cahun, one of the real-life subjects of Rupert Thomson’s novel. Credit: Jersey Heritage

Never Anyone But You, by Rupert Thomson reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

In a 2013 interview with a Canadian newspaper, Rupert Thomson acknowledged the strange place he occupies in the literary world.…

‘The First Days of Spring’, 1929, by Salvador Dalí

It’s the thought that counts

21 October 2017 9:00 am

During a panel discussion in 1949, Frank Lloyd Wright made an undiplomatic comment about Marcel Duchamp’s celebrated picture of 1912,…

Beyond Timbuktu

9 September 2017 9:00 am

Every so often a monster comes along. Here’s one — but a monster of fact not fiction, over 700 pages…

‘Statue (Double Check by Seward Johnson), New York, 11 September 2001’, 2001, by Jeff Mermelstein

Repo women

6 July 2017 1:00 pm

Aren’t you getting a little sick of the white cube? I am. I realised how sick last week after blundering…

Matilda Bathurst chooses the best recent short story collections

22 August 2015 9:00 am

‘I just wanted the damn story to ask the right questions,’ sighs a disaffected journalist in Jack Livings’s debut collection…

‘Untitled (Tilly Losch)’, c.1935–38, by Joseph Cornell

Poetic or pretentious? Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust at the Royal Academy reviewed

4 July 2015 9:00 am

Someone once asked Joseph Cornell who was his favourite abstract artist of his time. It was a perfectly reasonable question…

Why is a fish like a bicycle? Pedro Friedeberg’s letters to Duncan Fallowell may provide a clue at last

11 April 2015 9:00 am

Duncan Fallowell on the elusive Mexican artist and man-of-letters who has been his friend and faithful correspondent over many years —  though they have never met

‘The Giantess’ by Leonora Carrington, currently on show at Tate Liverpool

A mad menage — and menagerie - in Mexico: the life of Leonora Carrington in fictional form

28 March 2015 9:00 am

Leonora Carrington is one of those jack-in-the-boxes who languish forgotten in the cultural toy cupboard and then pop up every…

Chico, Harpo and Groucho Marx (left to right) enjoy a day at the races

What unites Churchill, Dali and T.S. Eliot? They all worshipped the Marx Brothers

10 January 2015 9:00 am

Ian Thomson celebrates the anarchic genius of Groucho and his brothers

‘Sunrise’, 1938, by John Armstrong

Are the British too polite to be any good at surrealism?

22 November 2014 9:00 am

The Paris World’s Fair of 1937 was more than a testing ground for artistic innovation; it was a battleground for…

‘Flying Rock’

Floating bodies, seeing hands, rippling skies - is Jerry Uelsmann’s photomontage a tragic dead-end?

30 August 2014 9:00 am

An untitled photograph by Jerry Uelsmann from 1991 shows a rock like Magritte’s floating in the sky between an Ansel…

Samuel Beckett walks into a nail bar

29 March 2014 9:00 am

It isn’t very often that a writer’s work is so striking that you can remember exactly where and when you…