Friday, 15 February 2013

Uncanny: Surrealism and the Graphic image by Rick Poyner

Rick Poyner’s talk on Uncanny: Surrealism and the Graphic image gave an enjoyable view of the connections between Surrealism and graphic image making.

“I came to this topic as a long time admirer of Surrrealism and felt there was something to say to designers” Poyner said.

In the talk he showcased work from within the history of graphics that very powerfully drew on Surrealism and possessed what he described as a ‘psychological charge’. 

Poyner sites his interest in surrealism as stemming from the 1970’s book Surrealism: Permanent Revelation by Roger Cardinal and Robert Stuart Short, which he described as being written in the spirit of revolutionary fervour. Showing more recent examples of the surrealist influence on graphic design and image making, he discussed the 2005 Max Ernst exhibition in New York and the current Dali exhibit in Paris.

In 2009 Poyner was invited to curate an exhibition for the Moravian Gallery in Brno, in the Czech Republic. The exhibition, “Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design was to commemorate the International Biennial of Graphic Design in 2010. 

The Polymorphous Image: sculpture by Jan ҆vankmajer (foreground)
The Surreal Body: Laboratoires CCCP and Stefan Sagmeister (main wall)
Cabinets of Wonder
Exhibition images from

“The Czech Republic is a good place to explore this connection because surrealism’s influence in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s was second only to its impact in France, the movement’s birthplace. To this day, there is a formal Czech and Slovak surrealist group of artists and theorists, who organize meetings, exhibitions, and publications.”

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