Undercover Surrealism: Georges Bataille and DOCUMENTS
In the Paris art world of the 1920’s, Georges Bataille and his journal DOCUMENTS represented a dissident branch of surrealism. Bataille–poet, philosopher, writer, and self-styled “enemy within” surrealism–used DOCUMENTS to put art into violent confrontation with popular culture, ethnography, film, and archaeology. Undercover Surrealism, taking the visual richness of DOCUMENTS as its starting point, recovers the explosive and vital intellectual context of works by Picasso, Dali, Miro, Giacometti, and others in 1920’s Paris. Featuring 180 color images and translations of original texts from DOCUMENTS accompanied by essays and shorter descriptive texts, Undercover Surrealism recreates and re-contextualizes Bataille’s still unsettling approach to culture. Putting Picasso’s Three Dancers back into its original context of sex, sacrifice, and violence, for example, then juxtaposing it with images of gang wars, tribal masks, voodoo ritual, Hollywood musicals, and jazz, makes the urgency and excitement of Bataille’s radical ideas startlingly vivid to a twenty-first-century reader. Co-published by Hayward Gallery Publishing, London.