Last updated 1 year ago
Robert Therrien, No Title (Table and Four Chairs) 2003
No Title (Table and Four Chairs) is a multi-part sculpture of a dining room set, enlarged to three times its original size. It consists of five objects: one table and four chairs, which are arranged around the respective sides of the table, drawn out slightly to leave a space in each case between the table edge and chair leg. The colossal sculpture stands over ten feet high, tall enough for viewers to walk easily beneath its vast expanse.
Salvador Dalí's Forgotten Horizon 1936
Dalí’s disturbing, imaginary landscapes often contain references to his own life. Forgotten Horizon is a typical example, drawing upon memories of childhood holidays on the beach at Rosas on the Costa Brava. The striding woman in the distance is his cousin, Carolinetta, while the dancing figures in the foreground were inspired by a picture on a postcard. Dalí intended the effect to be hallucinatory, with the figures appearing as if projected onto a prepared background or theatrical set.
Marcel Duchamp's Wedge of Chastity 1954, cast 1963
In the 1950s, Duchamp made a small number of moulded objects, based on male and female genitalia. They exemplify his fascination with sexual ambiguity. In this sculpture, the metal ‘wedge’ and the pink plastic slit-form can be seen as expressing male-female, inside-outside dualities in union. Duchamp made the original version in 1954 as a wedding present for his second wife. It is reported that the couple kept it displayed on a bedside table and travelled with it, ‘like a wedding ring’.
René Magritte's The Reckless Sleeper 1928
A figure sleeps in a wooden alcove above a dark cloudy sky. The way into this space is barred by a tablet embedded with everyday objects, which are displayed as in a children’s book. These objects are presented as if dreamed by the sleeper. As Magritte knew, some or all of them could also be read as Freudian symbols. This combination of different possible interpretations adds to the painting’s suggestion of unease and disorientation.
Yves Tanguy's Azure Day 1937
Tanguy joined the surrealist movement in 1925, the year after its foundation. Despite his lack of training, he began to paint and soon achieved an astonishing technical precision, depicting vast dream-like spaces. The foreground in Azure Day is occupied by grouped and piled forms that defy rational explanation. They have been associated with the ancient standing stones of Tanguy’s native Brittany.
Salvador Dalí, Autumnal Cannibalism 1936
Two faceless figures are devouring each other. As their heads and bodies merge, they dig knives and spoons into each other’s flesh. The surrounding landscape is Empordà, in Catalonia, where Dalí was born. The mutually destructive embrace may be a comment on the Spanish Civil War, which began a few months before Autumnal Cannibalism was painted. The apple on the head of the male figure relates to the legend of William Tell, in which a father is forced to shoot at his son.
René Magritte, The Annunciation 1930
The objects in this painting appear to be a metal sheet with bells, a paper cut-out and two balusters (Magritte referred to similar objects in his paintings as bilboquets, a French stick and ball game). Their enlargement and conjunction with the landscape creates a feeling of incongruity recalling the experience of dreams. The title, The Annunciation, may have been suggesting that something is about to happen, an expectation that is central to the eerie quality of this strange landscape.