Surrealism In Britain

My interest in the reception of surrealism in Britain – my own culture – goes back to the 1980s, when I was invited to curate the exhibition Contrariwise at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea.

This was a wide-ranging exhibition and I have taken the opportunity here to record both its physical presence and some of its spin-offs.

Two decades later, the ideas formed in Contrariwise fed into my second book on the relationship between surrealism and documentary photography: So Exotic, So Homemade (2007), which looked specifically at how that relationship developed in England (not Britain this time).

The following sections look further at two of the key relationships between artist and place examined in So Exotic, So Homemade: Paul Nash in the Dorset town of Swanage and Eileen Agar on the north Brittany coast at Ploumanac’h.

I have also included my photographic work Sambo and Freud here as well as in the Photoworks section, since it has, I think, important connections both with surrealism and with questions of national identity.

Finally, there is the text of a talk on Ian Breakwell’s Continuous Diary, an important work from the latter part of the century.

Ian_Walker_So exotic so homemade