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Indepth Arts News:

"Victor Brauner: Surrealist Hieroglyphs"
2001-10-26 until 2002-01-26
Menil Collection
Houston, TX, USA

As an early adherent of the Surrealist movement, Victor Brauner actively explored the realm of dreams and the unconscious, with an emphasis on the occult and mystical. Both in content and in style, his art represents a remarkably fertile fusion of wide-ranging world cultures, mythologies, and religious beliefs, from Egyptian to Aztec, Native American to Oceanic, Jewish to Hindu, to name only a few.

The exhibition brings together over 65 prime examples of Brauner’s work drawn from the core holdings of The Menil Collection and an international roster of loans. Victor Brauner: Surrealist Hieroglyphs is the first museum exhibition of Brauner’s work to take place outside of Europe.

The work of Brauner and its position in the history of art comprise a story replete with paradox. He was a respected and integral member of both the 1920s Romanian avant-garde and, beginning in the 1930s, the Paris Surrealist circle. Yet the history of modernist art often minimizes or neglects his idiosyncratic approach to Surrealism. An erudite man of high intellect, Brauner made paintings that often have a naïve, folk art quality.Primarily focusing on figuration—whether human, animal, occult, or mythological beings—his works conversely are often realized in boldly colored abstract shapes and decorative patterning. An undeterred experimenter, he employed wax and encaustic media techniques of his own invention. While his paintings often seem thematically simple, even invoking images from a child’s storybook, they are in fact underpinned by an intricate lexicon of symbolism and archetypes. Bringing to mind the cave drawings of Lascaux, the pictograms of North American cliff dwellers, or the carvings in Mayan ruins, Brauner’s work was propelled by a search for a universality of spirit.

IMAGE:
Victor Brauner
La Bas


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