Sam Durant “Invisible Surrealists”

Paula Cooper Gallery "521 W 21 St."

poster for Sam Durant “Invisible Surrealists”

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The Paula Cooper Gallery presents Invisible Surrealists, an exhibition of new work by Sam Durant. The show includes intricate graphite drawings alongside mixed-media sculpture.

Inspired by Robin D.G. Kelly’s essay, “Keepin’ it (Sur)real: Dreams of the Marvelous,” Durant’s new body of work revisits the history of Surrealism, casting light on lesser-known members of the movement from the Francophone colonies. Using iconic group photographs of the celebrated Paris-based founders of the movement like André Breton, Man Ray and Leon Trotsky, Durant alters the images, inserting a number of overlooked artists such as Wifredo Lam, René Ménil, Aimé and Suzanne Césaire, Jules Monnerot and Joyce Mansour.

By revising the Eurocentric narrative and creating new archival imagery, Durant’s drawings question the photograph’s ability to represent history, exposing it instead as an instrument with which collective amnesia and repression are perpetuated.

Durant also seeks to renew the original spirit of Surrealism—oppositional, radical and revolutionary—which came about as a reaction to the cataclysm of World War I. Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the war, Invisible Surrealists explores the relationship between combat and art, especially through the phenomena of “Trench Art.” In one sculpture, Durant transforms heavy caliber shells into bells for a large wind chime, and in another, he assembles a collection of trench warfare objects on a stage-like platform, highlighting their sculptural qualities.

Durant’s method of intertwining historical and cultural events of the past and the present is a recurring theme within his work. He has focused on such pivotal periods as the civil-rights era, the 1968 student riots, and last century’s struggle between Native Americans and European settlers.



from September 12, 2014 to October 18, 2014

Opening Reception on 2014-09-12 from 18:00 to 20:00


Sam Durant

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