Goddess, she-devil, doll, fetish, nymphet, or wonderful dream crea­ture—women were the central subject matter of Surre­alist male fantasies. It was often only in the role of companion or model that female artists could succeed in pene­trating the circle surrounding André Breton, the founder of the group of Surre­al­ists. However, on closer exam­i­na­tion it becomes evident that the partic­i­pa­tion of women artists in the move­ment was consid­er­ably larger than is gener­ally known or reported.

The SCHIRN is now presenting the female contri­bu­tion to Surre­alism for the first time in a major thematic exhi­bi­tion. Female artists differed from their male colleagues above all in their reversal of perspec­tive: They often embarked on a search for a (new) model of female iden­tity by exploring their own reflec­tion or by adopting different roles. Contem­po­rary polit­ical events, liter­a­ture, and non-Euro­pean myths and reli­gions are further subjects that the Surre­alist women examine in their works. With some 260 impres­sive paint­ings, works on paper, sculp­tures, photographs, and films by 35 inter­na­tional artists, the exhi­bi­tion reflects a diverse spec­trum in terms of both style and content.

Besides famous female artists such as Louise Bour­geois, Frida Kahlo or Meret Oppen­heim, visi­tors will be able to discover count­less unknown but exciting artistic posi­tions from over three decades of Surre­alist art, such as Alice Rahon or Kay Sage.