Own Research 6 – The Psychic Lens – December 2016 The Atlas Gallery

Last weekend I wandered along to a new exhibition at Atlas Gallery exploring how photographers responded to Surrealism over the course of over 50 years: The Psychic Lens: Surrealism and the camera. It included vintage photographs by Man Ray, Andre Kertesz, Florence Henri and Bill Brandt alongside works by artists I had never even heard of, such as Vaclav Zykmund, Franz Roh, Raoul Hausmann and Japanese artist, Toshiko Okanoue.

Apparently there are two broad types of surrealism – ‘the oneiric, dream-like imagery, as shown in the work of Florence Henri, Roger Parry, Cesar Domela and later Bill Brandt and automatism,a process of making which unleashed the unconscious by creating without conscious thought, as shown in some of the works by Man Ray.’

This was the third exhibition of the day so by the time I got there I was a bit ‘imaged out’ but it was rather impressive to be surrounded by works of all these photographers that I had heard of and enjoyed looking at. The gallery itself split the exhibition over 2 floors with some images on the walls around the ‘shop’ and the rest downstairs. The walls were plain white with natural lighting and spots upstairs and spots down. Images below courtesy of  Artsy

I loved the tones and textures in Man Ray’s Woman with long hair…wasn’t so convinced about the rare copy of Ostrich Egg with Stamp and Sandpaper…Some images don’t seem to have dated at all such as Herbert List’s Sunglasses Lake Lucerne Switzerland, whilst others that must have been quite eye-opening and challenging at the time, such as some of Franz Roh’s collages that now look very dated. Having researched Andre Kertesz Distortion series it was great to see one of the images up close and personal and I loved the strong contrasts in Horst P Horst’s Hands,Hands, which I could own for the mere sum of £18.500!

The set of images by Pablo Picasso and Andre Villers helped to develop a kernal of an idea for assignment 2, as did Toshiko Okanoue…which may or may not develop into something… cogs turning in the mind and lots of ideas floating about.

Although not strictly speaking ‘documentary’ it does fulfill the criteria of the B&W image and it does document the surrealist movement within photography..and heck look at the list of people you can go and see the REAL work of…I would recommend going to see this exhibition.


Gallery, A. (2017) The psychic lens – surrealism and the camera | Atlas gallery. Available at: https://www.artsy.net/show/atlas-gallery-the-psychic-lens-surrealism-and-the-camera (Accessed: 22 December 2016).

The psychic lens: Surrealism and the camera – Atlas gallery | fine Art Photography (no date) Available at: http://www.atlasgallery.com/exhibition/the-psychic-lens (Accessed: 22 December 2016).


One thought on “Own Research 6 – The Psychic Lens – December 2016 The Atlas Gallery

  1. Pingback: Psychogeographies – B&W and surrealism -Canon Fodder – Jan's Foray into Documentary

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