SURREALISTS in Wales and their associates from further afield have teamed up with Cardiff Metropolitan University to organise an exceptional group exhibition on the theme of revolt, ‘Gogoneddus Ych-a-Fi Glorious Disgust’.
The show is currently taking place on the university’s Cyncoed campus and will run until 19th April. It features the work of 30 contemporary artists and writers from Wales, the UK and abroad, either directly involved in Surrealism or associated with it.
Following a photography competition, several Cardiff Metropolitan students from the Travel, Language and Culture Society will have the opportunity to display their own work next to that of renowned artists, such as English zoologist, ethologist and surrealist painter Desmond Morris; and John Welson, active painter, poet and writer inspired by the landscapes of his native Wales.
John Welson has been exhibiting his Surreal art since the 1960s. In his twenties, he was introduced to Salvador Dali as the flag bearer of surrealist art in the UK and has since gone on to exhibit his work with famous artists around the world; from New York to Santiago.
He also wrote a book with prize-winning essayist David Greenslade, who teaches English at Cardiff Metropolitan University and is the curator of the exhibition.
Dr David Greenslade said: “As with so many things when in the company of surrealists, this exhibition started by happy accident. Last October, a Cardiff Met technician mentioned in passing that he had an abundance of A1 frames that needed filling. To cut a long story short, these frames were made available and I invited those with an interest in surrealism to submit an A1 sized piece of visual work.
“The title of the show, Gogoneddus Ych-a-Fi or Glorious Disgust takes its inspiration from the writings of French surrealist André Breton, who established the spirit of revolt and the presence of the marvelous as a fundamental principle within the revolutionary practice of surrealism. Artists were invited to reflect on the experience of marvel and revolt within a Welsh context and submit work accordingly. The results are wonderfully varied.”
In total, more than 20 artists from all parts of Wales are involved, including Gold Medal Eisteddfod Winner Susan Adams; Davis Rees Davies, now based in London, famous for his very controversial depiction of a Welsh murder; and Neil Coombes, of Colwyn Bay, who runs a leading publishing house of Surreal work.
Welsh History is honoured throughout the exhibition, with several artworks representing famous episodes like the Rebecca Riots or the Battle of Fishguard; while special guests from Poland, Romania, France, Czech Republic, China and other countries with a connection to Wales will add a truly international dimension.
John Welson, David Greenslade and Neil Coombs, along with fellow artists John Richardson and Jean Bonnin, work particularly closely together. This exhibition is not their first collaborative project.
John Richardson explained: “Although Welsh and/or living in Wales, we are profoundly internationalist in our outlook and have close links with surrealists around the world.
“Surrealism cannot simply be reduced to an art movement, it is a way of seeing the world and seeking to reshape it. We are overtly political, passionately anti-capitalist and anti-clerical.
The exhibition, free, collaborative, utopian and revolutionary, is somehow surreal itself and promises to shed a new light on the Welsh artistic scene.
As David Greenslade commented: “Surrealism is well alive and flourishing in Wales. I have great admiration for all the artists featured, and it has been a pleasure to coordinate this project with their help.”
Dates: February 19th – April 19th 2018
Venue: B Block Gallery Space, Cardiff Metropolitan, Cyncoed Campus, CF23 6XD