The World of the Subconsciousness and Fantasy of Toyen

Deep dive into 'The Flora of the Sleep'

The Flora of the Sleep (1931) by ToyenOlomouc Museum of Art

Marie Čermínová

The painter Toyen, a pseudonym of Marie Čermínová, is one of the most acknowledged artists of the Czech avant-garde.

The principal moment in her work was her departure for Paris, where she settled at the end of 1925, together with Jindřich Štyrský. 

The world of the dream, the subconsciousness and fantasy was one of the main sources of her inspiration and she linked them with surrealism.

'The Flora of the Sleep'

The painting 'The Flora of the Sleep' is one of her most notable pictures, done already after her return to Prague in 1929...

...but still before the foundation of the Group of Surrealists in Czechoslovakia (1934), established by her, jointly with Jindřich Štyrský, Karel Teige and Vítězslav Nezval.

Biomorphous structures, drapery torsos, an object ambivalently reminiscent of the walnut core or the folds of the grey matter of the brain, and the bewitching colour scheme, these are the typical attributes of Surrealist imagination. 

Toyen painted this picture in 1931 and the very next year it was displayed at a major exhibition, Poetry 1932, held by S. V. U. Mánes in Prague...

...where it was seen in the context of the major works of the world avant-garde (Hans Arp, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Paul Klee, Yves Tanguy and others).

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