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Event Item: 00143
Beyond Painting: Max Ernst in the Würth Collection
Exhibition: 22nd Sep 2008 to 1st Mar 2009
The exhibition brings together fifty-seven works, comprising illustrated books, paintings, collages, sculptures, drawings and engravings. In collaboration with the Würth Collection, Künzelsau (Germany).

Opening on 22nd September 2008, Beyond Painting: Max Ernst in the Würth Collection brings together fifty-seven works including an important selection of illustrated books that is outstanding both for its artistic worth and for the rare occasions on which it is so fully displayed. The exhibition also encompasses paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages and engravings that delve into and reveal the artist's unsettling, extraordinary world. The works on display belong to the Würth Collection, Künzelsau (Germany), one of Europe's foremost private holdings and will be shown until 1st March 2009.

Described by André Breton as "the most magnificently tormented mind that could possibly exist", Max Ernst was one of the leading figures of 20th Century art. His overwhelming imagination, deluded, exalted and rebellious, produced a transgressive body of work that underwent constant experimentation and which was inhabited by fantastical creatures and impossible situations.

"My wanderings, my restlessness, my impatience, my doubts, my beliefs, my hallucinations, my rages, my revolts, my refusal to submit to any discipline, even those of my own invention… none of these have succeeded in creating a climate conducive to a calm, serene body of work." This was the comment Max Ernst (Brühl, Cologne 1891 - Paris 1976) made on his own work in 1970, at the end of his life. Behind him lay a lifetime of searching and constant experimentation, leading to a body of work that is one of the most significant contributions of its time to art and, in particular, to the Surrealist movement.

Surrealism, like Dadaism before it, was the response of a generation of artists to Western society's cult of rational thought which, in their opinion, had led to the horrors of the First World War. The Surrealists believed in the importance of the unconscious, fantasy and dreams as a way to achieve a deeper level of truth.

One of the foremost of these young artists was Max Ernst. His father was a teacher at a school for the deaf and an amateur artist, and Ernst grew up with an understanding of the workings of the inner life. The birth of his sister coincided with the death of the family's pet bird, an event that was to become part of the painter's personal mythology and the source for many of the subjects he painted: half-human, half-bird-like creatures, hints of sexual relations between women and animals, and situations in which the morbid and the erotic both merge.

Beyond Painting. Max Ernst in the Würth Collection opens up in the Museo Picasso Malaga a window onto this unique world, inviting viewers to experience something mid-way between provocation, reflection and, in some cases, riddle-solving, by displaying paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages, engravings and illustrated books. As the artist's friend and leading authority on his work, Werner Spies, points out, Ernst is responsible for some of the most magnificent books of the 20th century. In his role as an illustrator, the artist put into practice some of his most famous experimental techniques, such as collage, photograms and frottage (drawings produced by rubbing charcoal onto paper over a surface with a suggestive texture).

With this exhibition devoted to Max Ernst, the Museo Picasso Malaga pursues its commitment to examine the most outstanding art manifestations of the first half of the 20th century, when Pablo Picasso produced the greater part of his oeuvre. One of the most significant of these movements was Surrealism, and Ernst was one of its leading exponents.

Beyond Painting. Max Ernst in the Würth Collection has been organized in collaboration with the Würth Collection, Künzelsau (Germany), one of the most important private holdings in Europe.

Museo Picasso Málaga, Palacio de Buenavista, San Agustín 8, 29015 Málaga, España
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