Dada and Surrealism Reviewed

Hayward Gallery, 11 January – 27 March 1978

By Hayward Gallery

Installation view: Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Dada and Surrealism Reviewed

This ambitious exhibition was structured around the ‘reviews’ or publications that were the principle platforms of the Dada and Surrealist movements. Works by Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Giorgio de Chirico, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst and Joan Miro were shown alongside magazines including Documents, Litterature and La Revolution Surrealiste, and accompanied by found objects and books from the artists’ private collections. 

Press Release for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

The exhibition was organised by a committee that included the surrealist artist and poet Roland Penrose – principle organiser of the London Surrealist exhibition in 1936 – and art historian David Sylvester, along with Dawn Ades, Alan Bowness, Michael Compton, Elizabeth Cowling, Roy Edwards, John Golding and George Melly.

Press Release for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery Press Release for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Education Programme Press Notice, Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery Education Programme Press Notice, Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Private View Card for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Installation View: Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery, 1978. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

A Vast and Labyrinthine Layout

Dada and Surrealism Reviewed featured more than 1,000 objects and artworks. The layout chosen for the exhibition was ‘deliberately crowded’, with many paintings hung two or three deep, and objects and sculptures displayed as in ‘cabinets of curiosities’. 

Installation view: Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery, 1978. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

As David Sylvester explained, this was method of display that was characteristic of both the exhibitions staged by the surrealist, as well as their private apartments. Dada and Surrealism Reviewed was divided into 17 distinct sections that together traced the geographical and chronological development of both movements.

Installation view: Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery. Photo: Peter Johns (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Installation view: Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery, 1978. Photo: Peter Johns (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Installation View: Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Installation view: Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery, 1978. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Installation view: Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery, 1978. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Installation View: Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery, 1978. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Draft Gallery Plans for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery, 1978 Draft Gallery Plans for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery, 1978 by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Draft layout for Hayward's upper galleries.

Hand-drawn Scale Diagram of 'Montage Wall' in Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Print and Ephemera

Each section of the exhibition was introduced by a wall-montage consisting of reproduced material from each of the reviews, as well as associated pamphlets, posters and other printed matter. The exhibition’s designer Edward Wright – who had also worked on the 1971 Hayward Gallery exhibition Art in Revolution – made detailed hand-drawn plans of each of these montage areas. 

Hand-drawn Scale Diagram of 'Montage Wall' in Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Hand-drawn Scale Diagram of 'Montage Wall' in Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Hand-drawn Scale Diagram of 'Montage Wall' in Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Hand-drawn Scale Diagram of 'Montage Wall' in Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Hand-drawn Scale Diagram of 'Montage Wall' in Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Logo for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Edward Wright was responsible for all elements of the exhibition’s design, not least the logo, font, posters and badges, which took inspiration from the design and typography associated with both movements.

Typography for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Designs for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed 'lapel buttons' by Kitty and Edward Wright, Hayward Gallery Designs for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed 'lapel buttons' by Kitty and Edward Wright, Hayward Gallery by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Hand-drawn Sketch of Marketing Leaflet for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978)Hayward Gallery

Marketing Leaflet for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Talks and Events Poster for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Exhibition Guide for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery Exhibition Guide for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

This exhibition guide was written by David Sylvester.

Press Cutting for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978) by John McNameeHayward Gallery

Press and Audience Response

Marcel Jean, a surrealist who leant works to the exhibition, was pleased with the press response – both positive and negative, to Dada and Surrealism Reviewed. Writing to the Arts Council’s Joanna Drew, he commented that the bad press put him in mind of the response to the London Surrealist exhibition of 1936: ‘It makes me feel young again’, he wrote.

Press Cutting for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978)Hayward Gallery

Press Cutting for Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery (1978)Hayward Gallery

Summary of the Dada and Surrealism 'Audience to an Audience' survey (1978) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Dada and Surrealism Reviewed received 188,655 visitors. An independent researcher was commissioned by the Arts Council to review the audience response to the exhibition. This report focused on the exhibition’s vast scale, which was considered by many visitors to be too large to take in during a single visit.

Extract from the Independent Evaluation of Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery Extract from the Independent Evaluation of Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

The report also charted the creative graffiti left in the toilets, much of which was inspired by the exhibition. It noted that 'a few visitors copied Duchamp's practice of signing ready-mades', with one gentleman signing a urinal.

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