Uncanny: surrealism and graphic design

Graham Rawle

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design, conceived and curated by Poynor for the Moravian Gallery in Brno, is the first major exhibition to explore the influence of Surrealism on graphic image-making and graphic design. Featuring more than 250 items — posters, prints, books, magazines, record sleeves, typefaces and films — Uncanny investigates the profound impact of Surrealist ideas and images on visual communication from the 1930s to the present. The exhibition presents this material in seven sections. “Birth of the Marvelous” uncovers the origins of Surrealist design. “The Polymorphous Image” shows diverse examples of fantastical transformation. “The Surreal Body” focuses on treatments of anatomy, including the body in fragments and the eye. “Cabinets of Wonder” traces the influence of the Wunderkammer on graphic image-making. “Obscure Objects of Desire” considers the portrayal of woman as Surrealist muse. In “The Liberated Letterform” the alphabet assumes bizarre new shapes and words become as malleable and potent as other kinds of surreal image. “Dream Cinema” shows short films made by graphic artists under the spell of Surrealism. Uncanny includes images and designs by Karel Teige, Jindřich Štyrský, Toyen, Jindřich Heisler, Jan Švankmajer, Eva Švankmajerová, Josef Vylet’al, Karel Teissig (Czechoslovakia); Roman Cieslewicz, Jan Lenica, Franciszek Starowieyski, Bronislaw Zelek (Poland); M/M (Paris), Marion Bataille, Laboratoires CCCP (France); Andrzej Klimowski, Vaughan Oliver, Quay Brothers, Graham Rawle (UK); Elliott Earls, Brian Schorn, Edward Fella, Jonathon Rosen (US), and many others.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2010
EventUncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design - Moravian Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic - 23 June to 24 October 2010 Kunsthal, Rotterdam, Netherlands - 24 September to 4 December 2011
Duration: 23 Jun 2010 → …

Bibliographical note



  • Surrealism
  • graphic design
  • Poster design


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