Max Ernst. A Week of Kindness

One of the best-kept secrets in the art world of the twentieth century

Temporary

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Paseo de Recoletos 23, 28004 Madrid

This exhibition featured a series of original collages by Max Ernst which embodied the complex and delirious imaginary world of Surrealism, a movement spearheaded by this artist which he nourished with his presence, overflowing with creativity and talent.

Artwork 'A Week of Kindness' by Max Ernst
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Art
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Exhibitions

The Exhibition

This exhibition, which took place thanks to the generosity of the owner of the collages, collector Daniel Filipacchi, allowed the presentation in Madrid of this series that had only ever been shown in its entirety at the 1936 exhibition in the National  Museum of Modern Art.

Max Ernst created these collages in 1933 with the intention of publishing them in the form of a novelA Week of Kindness – right at the moment when Europe was faced with the challenge of totalitarianism with Hitler’s rise to power.

Some of his dreams, and especially his worst nightmares, are materialized in these works, in which there is no lack of the dark premonitory feelings that were invading the continent. Like Shakespeare, he worked in the realm of instincts and primal emotions. A violent, powerful impetus runs through his work, with the intention of arousing a sense of discomfort in the viewer.

A Week of Kindness represents the culmination of the collage-as-novel. The series, from the moment it was published, became an essential reference for any artist interested in learning more about this genre. In Max Ernst’s collages, innocuous leaflet illustrations give way to vibrant compositions full of tension; in the hands of the artist, the decorative taste of the nineteenth-century illustrations generates its own rhetoric that is totally unrelated to the original context.

Every detail of each collage contains such a wealth of information that every time you contemplate one of them you discover a new aspect that allows you to redefine the artist’s discourse and obsessions.

The works in the series allow very different interpretations to be drawn from them. As viewers, we can appreciate the work involved in selecting, cutting out and applying the images, adjusting the printed fragments of reality, and led by the hand of the artist we can enter his dreamlike universe.

Artwork credit:
L'eau 4
A Week of Kindness, 1933
© Max Ernst, VEGAP, Madrid, 2010