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up to and including 09 January 2008

Surreal Things - Surrealism and Design

In the first major exhibition of its kind, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen revealed the bizarre and shocking world of Surrealism in all its extravagant variety. No art movement has had a greater impact on our culture than Surrealism, launched in 1924 by André Breton.

This unique exhibition in Rotterdam, home to an exquisite collection of Surrealism, explored for the first time how this anti-modernist movement based on the ideas of Freud and Marx infiltrated fashion, theatre design, architecture and the interior.

World-famous paintings by Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Max Ernst were combined with some of the most eccentric objects of the twentieth century from Man Ray’s flatiron with nails and Yves Tanguy’s painted earrings for Peggy Guggenheim to Meret Oppenheim’s table with bird’s legs and a dramatic skeleton dress by Elsa Schiaparelli.

The many hundred art works and design objects on show, unleashed a veritable visual and intellectual revolution, came from museums and private collections all around the world.


Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen invited Antwerp’s iconic fashion designers Walter Van Beirendonck and Dirk Van Saene to design the exhibition. They fused extraordinary objects – never before seen together – into a contemporary Surrealist experience. The duo developed a concept inspired by the window dummy’s role as a Surrealist fetish.

The exhibition has been realised in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. ‘Surreal Things’ has been made possible with the support of the Netherlands Culture Fund (HGIS) and the Mondriaan Foundation.

Media partner: Hollands Diep