Saturday, 19 June 2010

Je suis dada

Je suis dada, an exhibiton on Surrealism and design, travelled to Turin, Vienna, Prague and Brussel. After Milano, it will travel to Oslo and Madrid.
It is no coincidence that Belgium is the country of surrealism; of René Magritte (1898- 1967), of visual paradoxes such as “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” in the painting La Trahison des Images (1928), of the mussel pots of Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976), the female nudes of Paul Delvaux (1897-1994), the collages and controversial film L’imitation du Cinéma (1959) by Marcel Mariën (1920-1993), the poetry of Paul van Ostaijen (1896-1928)... It is also no coincidence that singer Jacques Brel (1929-1978) described Belgium as no more than a “state of mind. A dream, a fiction, a product of surrealism”...
Although Surrealism has not been around long as an artistic movement, its influence is here to stay and it continues to live on in all areas of art. Whereas James Ensor (1860- 1949), with his irony and unbridled imagery, can certainly be considered as a pioneer of Surrealism, Belgium still produces artists in the Surrealist tradition.

Belgians are raised on a certain form of stratification, of disorientation. This applies equally to design. This should not surprise, given that surrealist artists such as Dali and Magritte readily incorporate everyday objects in their compositions.
This is why Design Flanders decided to centre a travelling exhibition around the surrealist theme. The launch took place in November in Turin during the Torino World Design Capital event, where it attracted a great deal of interest.
Je suis dada shows objects with hidden meanings, full of emotion, poetry, irony and relativism. They get us dreaming, fantasising and smiling again, only nowadays there is nothing wrong in setting out to shock. Imagination reigns again.
Functionality and beauty are no longer specified as the only conditions, or even as conditions in themselves. These are generally limited-edition objects produced in small production runs, but industry too can fall for their sexy appeal.

The title itself refers almost literally to this drive towards freedom, it intrigues, raises questions, and carries the same weight as “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”. Je suis dada grew into something larger, in which not only the objects but also the graphic design (by Barlock), the scenography (by Pieter Boons and Annemie Lathouwers), the visuals and the music became part of the surrealist story the exhibition brings to you.
The exhibition will be extended with several innovations including Baobab by Xavier Lust for MDF Italia and a new version of the lamp Equilibre by Luc Ramael for Prandina.

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