Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels:

"IMAGINE! 100 Years of International Surrealism"

February 21 - July 21, 2024

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are inaugurating IMAGINE!, an extraordinary international touring exhibition conceived in close collaboration with the Centre Pompidou (Paris).

An immersion in surrealist poetry, dream, the labyrinth, metamorphosis, the unknown and the subconscious, led by the great names of surrealists, from Max Ernst to Giorgio de Chirico, not forgetting Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Jane Graverol, Dorothea Tanning, Man Ray, Leonor Fini, etc.

Each partner museum houses the core of the travelling exhibition and enriches it by emphasising its own heritage. In Brussels, the RMFAB will explore surrealism from a symbolist perspective, through more than 130 works of art (paintings, works on paper, sculptures, objects, assemblages, and photographs).

IMAGINE! focuses on the connections and similarities, but also the fracture lines between surrealism and symbolism, one of its precursors. From 1880 onwards, Brussels was an exceptional hub for the arts and the avant-garde, as demonstrated by the exhibitions of groups such as “Les XX” and “La Libre Esthétique”. Symbolism, embodied in particular by Rops, Spilliaert, Khnopff, Delville and Minne, evolved rapidly in Brussels and largely anticipated the emergence of the surrealist movement. A few decades later, Brussels became a centre for Belgian surrealism. Despite the cultural rupture caused by World War I, the older symbolists and the emerging youth were never fundamentally alienated from each other.

From January to July 2024, Belgium will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. What better year to celebrate surrealism, the movement which put Belgium on the map, and found meaning within a European context? What’s more, 2024 also marks the hundredth anniversary of the publication of the 'Surrealist Manifesto' (1924). With IMAGINE!, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium wish to celebrate the centenary of the birth of surrealism in an optimal European context.

After Brussels and Paris, the exhibition will travel to the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Fundación Mapfré Madrid, before closing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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