Why have we titled this exhibition ‘surrealist murmuration’? We had used the word ‘murmuration’ because of the hundreds of thousands of starlings who nest in Aberystwyth and form their patterns above the sea each night; it is a wonderful spectacle, the amazing shapes and forms appear like sculptures in the sky, and then they disappear to form another shape. Not only is this phenomenon visible from the large gallery window which over looks the sea, but we were both enchanted by the idea of ‘murmuration’ as a ‘found object’ and, moreover, one governed by chance. Thus we were seeking to anchor our exhibition both in the locality and in one of the key surrealist ideas/principles.
The works we have selected and grouped in a series of domains, provide evidence not only of contemporary surrealist activity from around the world, but of the continuing relevance of the surrealist critique of the dull world of the reality-principle, referred to in the First Surrealist Manifesto (André Breton, 1924) as “the unacceptable human condition”.
Surrealists seek to transform our view of ‘what is’ and ‘what can be’, and to uncover a deeper, hidden reality. Surrealist activity, in bringing together two or more unrelated images on a single plane can generate a spark, creating a new, enigmatic surreality, and thus can reveal to us a tantalising glimpse of the Marvellous.
Opposing so-called common sense, capitalist ideology, religious delusions and the miserablism of everyday life, with total revolt and an unfettered imagination suffused with the love of the irrational and the irrationality of love, Surrealism is above all an adventure of the mind which ensures ‘we (will) not let the paths of desire become overgrown’ (André Breton, Mad Love). To ensure the avoidance of any doubt it is, in particular, to be stressed that Surrealism cannot be reduced to a literary or artistic movement – and still less one that existed ‘between the first and second world wars’. Rather we were, are and will be, ‘specialists in revolt’.
John Richardson & John Welson