Emerging Scholars Directory

– Auld, Jonathan
Open University
MA, History of Art

Display and agency of the found object in 1936
Supervisor: Joel Robinson
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2021

– Barbier de Reulle, Caroline
Université Paris-Sorbonne
PhD, Music and Musicology

Salvador Dalí and Music
Salvador Dalí asserted time and again that he despised music. Nevertheless, references to this art in his work are omnipresent in various domains: painting, sculpture, cinema, ballet, happenings, photography, writings… The dissonance between the word and the work is at the heart of this thesis which attempts to define the role played by music in the creation of Dalí by opening up the disciplines, while replacing his approach within the context of surrealism and art history. Styles and musical genres such as jazz, sardana, sonata, tango, rock and electronic music inspired him. The analysis of his opera-poem “Être Dieu” (1974) composed by Igor Wakhévitch in which Dalí speaks and sings offers a synthesis of the artist’s preferred themes.
Keywords: Dalí, music and painting, dance, interrelationship of the arts
Supervisor: Michèle Barbe
Year completed/anticipated: 2017
Research Language(s): French

– Caputo, Caterina
Università di Firenze

Collecting, Displaying, Selling. The Market, Strategies and the Dissemination of Surrealism Between 1938 and 1950: The Case of the London Gallery
The study aimed to performed a contextual analysis of the cultural and commercial activity of the London Gallery: the only Surrealist gallery to be active in London between 1938 and 1950, managed by two Surrealist artists and collectors: the English Roland Penrose and the Belgian E.L.T. Mesens.

The London Gallery played a crucial role for the UK, as it had taken part in bringing international Surrealism, as well as Modernism, and creating a national Surrealist group. It was mainly Mesens who managed the gallery arranging exhibitions as well as selling and buying artworks; although Penrose’s role had been often considered marginal, his collection was fundamental in the choices behind the gallery’s schedule of exhibitions and for the structure of commercial strategies. Mesens’ and Penrose’s collections were so frequently present in the gallery that often the terms private ‘collection’ and gallery ‘stock’ became promiscuous, so that collecting and selling became part of the same business. However, the historical importance of the London Gallery in shaping British Sirrealism, as well as Mesens’ and Penrose’s collections in spreading the movement, transcend the art market strategies and business.

In conclusion, the London Gallery played two important roles: firstly, it strongly contributed to the international circulation of Surrealism artworks and ideologies –mainly via exhibitions, loans and sales; secondly, it activated an avant-garde art market both in Britain and the United States.
Year completed/anticipated: 2018
Research Language(s): French, Italian
Web/social: https://unifi.academia.edu/CaterinaCaputo

– Caro Troncoso, Paulina
University of Edinburgh
PhD, History of Art

Roberto Matta’s works 1960s-1970s
This project examines the work of Roberto Matta in Latin America from the 1960s and 1970s.
Supervisor: Prof Patricia Allmer, Prof Neil Cox and Dr Jessica Gordon-Burroughs
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: Sept 2023
Research Language(s): English, Spanish
Web/social: https://www.eca.ed.ac.uk/profile/paulina-caro-troncoso

– Clements, Charlie
Tufts University
PhD, English Literature

Literature Without Relation: Immanence and Expression in the Twentieth-Century Irish and English Novel
My dissertation argues for a distinct split within twentieth-century literature. While the lineage of high modernism attempted to create a new way of using language to represent reality, another group threw themselves into the failure and impossibility of ever doing so. My dissertation argues that this non-representational literature cast aside the belief that meaning resides elsewhere—in a transcendent realm— and that language could ever be capable of accessing that more perfect realm. Rather, these authors take language to exist immanently and on the same level as all other existing things. For this group, literature is not primarily a tool of representing the world, but participates directly in it.
Keywords: Beckett, Surrealism, Immanence, Metaphysics, Magic
Supervisor: Lee Edelman
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2022
Research Language(s): English

– Cohen, Jennifer
University of Chicago
PhD, Art History

Surrealism and the Art of Consumption
Surrealism—the international avant-garde movement that coalesced around André Breton and his legacy between 1924 and 1969—is well-known for its sustained artistic and literary attacks against capitalism. Yet, despite the movement’s early forays into French communism, surrealists approached the selection and organization of their artistic techniques as a process of “consumption.” They “shopped” pre-existing modes of visual display found in early 20th century Paris, the European capital of luxury consumer industries and the epicenter of the department store’s emergence. This project asks what we should make of surrealist artwork made explicitly about consumption, through acts of consumption, and for consumers given the movement’s assimilation as a stylistic language of fashion and design.

Consumption provided the intellectual foundation and material substrate of the surrealist critique of the economic and political context in which the movement first developed and quickly gained renown. The engagement of Surrealism with contemporary economic structures is crucial to understand, not only in order to clarify the complex political stakes and aesthetic diversity of its objects and images. While surrealism is perhaps best known through its painting, collage, and photography, surrealists embraced the exchangeable and often ephemeral forms of consumer culture in order to strategically re-circulate their ideas. Seemingly marginal media like magazines and shop windows, therefore, were more central to the movement’s aesthetic and political aims than traditional artistic categories. In a series of in-depth case studies, this dissertation interrogates the historical significance of these “minor” categories of surrealist artistic media.
Supervisor: Christine Mehring
Year completed/anticipated: 2017
Research Language(s):

– Colbert, Margaret
Hunter College
MA, Art History

Remedios Varo: A Particular Way of Seeing
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2021
Research Language(s): English, Spanish

– Cuevas, Javier
Universidad de Málaga (Spain)
PhD, Art History

Surrealism and psychoanalytic theory
Keywords: Psychoanalysis, Freud, Breton, Warburg, Lacan
Year completed/anticipated: 2012
Research Language(s): Spanish
Web/social: https://www.uma.es/departamento-de-historia-del-arte/info/114523/ficha-de-javier-cuevas-del-barrio/

– Cushing, Douglas
University of Texas at Austin
PhD, Art History

Inter-war Romanticism, Revolution, and Modernism on Display in “transition” (1927–1938)
My dissertation explores the little magazine “transition,” edited by Eugene Jolas with Elliot Paul, James Johnson Sweeney, and others. With an art historical lens, I consider the magazine’s reproductions (works by Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, and others) in relation to its text, mapping Jolas’s particular modernism. Driven by a sense of mounting world crises, Jolas founded a periodical whose aim was nothing short of a utopian remaking of the world. Informed by Romantic thought (especially Novalis’s writings), Jolas sought the development of a new poetic language and a wholesale re-enchantment of the world. He believed that modernist creators might lead the Western world in revolt against the stultifying effects of a mechano-industrial mindset, runaway rationalism and positivism, and bourgeois taste—which he believed led to a life devoid of feeling and concerned only with superficial appearances. Jolas insisted upon a generative poetic magic. Poetry—understood expansively—made reality. New symbols, hieroglyphs, words, metaphors, analogies, forms, and myths were requisite for reformation. In the Romantic-mystic tradition of Novalis, Jolas sought communion with the infinite and the forging of a human-divine Logos.

Jolas lauded modern art as vanguard in its production of new visual languages, recognizing art’s experimentation as a model for the written word. I frame my art history with regards to the periodical’s heterotopic space and its constituents: social spaces (e.g., salon and forum), mobile gallery, abstract-spiritual space, Cubism’s ideal spaces, Dada and Surrealism’s irrational Night-mind realm, and the permanent frontier of “primitive” art.
Keywords: avant-garde, modernism, periodicals, little magazines, Romanticism
Supervisor: Linda Dalrymple Henderson
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2021
Research Language(s): English, French, German

– D’Antone, Ambra
The Courtauld and Tate Modern
PhD, History of Art

Translating Modernity: Surrealism of the Levant
My thesis hinges primarily around Turkey and Syria as areas of influence. I analyse the deployment of Surrealist strategies in the Levant as an instance of translation, which informed a non-binary experience of collectivism and individualism within the region’s artistic production as a way to articulate a complex relationship to the idea of “the modern”.
Keywords: Translation; Modernity; Collectivity; Syria; Turkey.
Supervisor: Prof Gavin Parkinson, Dr Matthew Gale
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2021
Research Language(s): Arabic, English, French, Turkish
Web/social: @AmbraDAntone (Twitter)

– Di Domenico, Giorgio
Scuola Normale Superiore
PhD, History of Art

Critical Reception, Editorial Spread, Visual Persistence, Exhibition History, and Commercial Success of Surrealism in Italy, 1960-1989
The research project aims to address the Italian reception of Surrealism between 1960 and 1989. Among the artistic movements of the early Twentieth century, Surrealism has always been considered as the most distant from the Italian coeval artistic debate. Such a perception determined a long-lasting critical underestimation of surrealist paintings, sculptures, and texts from Italian critics and art historians. Nonetheless, Italian artists kept taking inspiration from Surrealism, collectors kept buying surrealist works, and an impressive amount of books and publications on Surrealism were published. After having reconstructed a complete panorama of the critical, commercial, and editorial reception of Surrealism in Italy, it will be possible to asses the impact of surrealist art on the most important Italian art movements of the time (Scuola di Piazza del Popolo, Arte povera, and Transavanguardia). In-depth analyses will be devoted to the work of artists who were particularly influenced by surrealist art, trying to identify the works they could have known and to reflect on the strategies they adopted in order to adapt the surrealist lexicon to their own personal style. Hopefully, what will emerge will be a new image of the artistic and critical debate of the three most crucial decades for contemporary Italian art.
Keywords: Surrealism, Italy, Italian Art, Reception
Supervisor: Flavio Fergonzi
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2024
Research Language(s): Italian
Web/social: https://sns.academia.edu/GiorgioDiDomenico

– Ensabella, Alice
Université Grenoble Alpes
PhD, Art History

L’arte des frères voyants. Caratteristiche e dinamiche del marcato dell’arte attorno al movimento surrealista (1919-1930)
The purpose of this dissertation is to study the development of the artistic market that arises around the surrealist movement during its years of formation and its early years of activity in between 1919 and 1930. In this work I try to provide an accurate picture about the dynamics and strategies adopted by the members of the group to promote their artistic research in the French capital (except for the first initiatives organized in Belgium following the relationships that have been established since 1925 with Paul Nougé and Camille Goemans), thus preparing the ground for a type of promotion on an international scale that will be organized in the next decade.

Strengthened by its independent, avant-garde position, Surrealism will also become independent and autonomy on the market. However, beyond a promotional model specific to the movement, surrealists were able to enter the official market institutions and exploit their skills dynamically.
For this reason, it was decided not to opt for a chronological narrative of the facts, with the risk that it would be too rich and therefore dispersive, as it should have been dealing simultaneously with different aspects of the market. The choice was so to adopt a thematic approach.

The study will then be divided into three main research axes, though intimately interconnected, representing the three specific areas of the market where surrealist art belongs: collections, auction sales and galleries.
Keywords: Surrealism, Art Market, Collections, Galleries, Auctions
Supervisor: Ilaria Schiaffini (Rome) / Alain Bonnet (Grenoble)
Year completed/anticipated: 2017
Research Language(s): English, French, Italian
Web/social: http://larhra.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/membre/176

– Fier, Lucas
Universidade Estadual do Paraná
MA, Programa de Pós Graduação em Artes

Austin Osman Spare: Art, Magic and Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness
This work proposes to research the Austin Osman Spare’s artistic production, a British artist and occultist. Considered a surrealistic pioneer, his work brings an imaginary focused on magic and esoteric symbolism, that can also be related to the Visionary Art movement. In addition we intend to discuss different aspects of Spare’s creative processes and also the dimensions of the iconography of his works, as well as associate with other visionary artists that will be used to illustrate the studied concepts.
Keywords: Spare, Visionary Art, NOSC, Magic, Sigil
Supervisor: José Eliezer Mikosz
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2021
Research Language(s): Portuguese

– Foucault, Anne
Université Paris Nanterre
PhD, Art History

Reconsideration of Surrealism (1945-1969) : from the Déshonneur des poètes to « eternal Surrealism »
The Parisian surrealist activity between 1946 and 1969 still remains less studied and less valued than the one of the interwar period. The present work aims at understanding and questionning that devaluation by analyzing the historiographic, artistic and political issues faced by Surrealism at the time. The marginalization of the group in the political sphere due to its rejection of both Western and Eastern politics during the Cold War also manifests itself in the artistic field as Surrealism challenges the formal criteria for art apprehension during a period when the debate between abstraction and figuration dominates the pictoral field. In addition to that, Surrealism is confronted with the first historiographic enterprises which participate in the institutionalization of its past and legacy. The collective approach of Surrealism favoured in this study allows us to analyze the mechanisms whereby the surrealist movement renews and extends its artistic activity, particularly concerning automatism (Simon Hantaï, Adrien Dax), the art of the object (Hervé Télémaque, Konrad Klapheck) and the theorization and practice of a magical art (Jean Benoît, Jorge Camacho). On the political level, a similar collective approach shows that after a period of isolation during the 1950s, surrealist values, benefiting from de-stalinization and anti-colonial conflicts, are acknowleged in intellectual circles. It is then the beginning for the group of a series of collaborations whose difficulties and stakes are analyzed to better understand what may have led to the auto-dissolution of the group a few months after the events of Mai 68.
Keywords: Post-War Surrealism Politics Historiography
Supervisor: Fabrice Flahutez
Year completed/anticipated: 2019
Research Language(s): English, French

– Heflin, Christina
Royal Holloway University of London
PhD, Media Arts

Underwater Surrealism: Science in the Service of Subversion
The obsessive representation of and violence against the eye is inescapable in
surrealist art, with works like Buñuel and Dalí’s Un Chien andalou and Bataille’s Histoire de l’oeil being the most renowned for their depictions of acts of ocular defilement. Over the years scholars have questioned these artists’ intentions and have even gone so far as to position them as anti-ocular.

The compromising of the physical integrity of the eye is not necessarily an outright rejection of vision. It questions the hierarchy of the senses. The use of marine animals in surrealist works by Eileen Agar, Jean Painlevé and Man Ray represents beings which rely on other modes of sensing, navigating their worlds without the primacy of vision. These artists were not anti-ocular, but rather they were using depictions of the marine to question the regimes of Western subjectivity and human primacy. They were doing this in a way that displays their engagement in materialist science, which has been overlooked in favor of discussing Surrealism’s interest in the metaphysical.

Considering the scientific discoveries of the early twentieth century in materialist science, surrealist artists were using these creatures as a way to question the status quo. Surrealism’s depictions of marine life reflect an interest in alternative sensory regimes and rejects the primacy of vision above other senses, calling into question the position of the human-animal relation. These representations express a desire to move beyond the eye to expand perception and explore the faculties of sensing denied to the human.
Keywords: surrealism, marine life, materialism, Eileen Agar, Jean Painlevé
Supervisor: Chris Townsend
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2021
Research Language(s): Dutch, English, French, Spanish
Web/social: @christy_heflin (IG & Twitter)

– Houtart, Manon
Université de Namur
PhD, Namur Institute of Language, Text and Transmediality

Les écrivains surréalistes à la lumière des archives radiophoniques : créations, lectures, entretiens
Entre les réticences d’André Breton à l’égard de l’art des sons, les récits de rêve de Desnos ou les pièces d’Artaud sur les ondes, et les nombreuses lectures radiophoniques des poèmes d’Eluard, Char, Soupault ou encore Nougé, Scutenaire et Lecomte, le rapport des surréalistes au médium phonique est marqué d’une ambivalence significative, que nous souhaitons explorer pour comprendre ce qu’elle révèle de l’esthétique surréaliste et de ses revendications. En mobilisant, comme matériau heuristique central, les archives sonores qui gardent la trace de la présence des écrivains surréalistes à la radio en France et en Belgique (créations, adaptations et lectures d’œuvres littéraires, ainsi qu’entretiens, portraits et hommages), nous mènerons une réflexion d’ordre poétique – de quelles façons les surréalistes se sont-ils emparés du médium phonique ? comment le médium transforme-t-il le texte ? – ; sociologique – quels échanges et collaborations se sont noués autour de ce médium et que disent-ils des réseaux surréalistes ? – ; et heuristique – quel statut ces archives sonores occupent-elles dans l’œuvre de chaque écrivain ? comment sont-elles conservées ? quelles connaissances nous apportent-elles sur le mouvement ?. Cette étude à partir de la littérature surréaliste s’inscrira dans une réflexion plus large sur les rapports des écrivains à la radio depuis les années 1920 jusqu’à nos jours, en interrogeant les spécificités, potentialités et contraintes du médium sonore, et la manière dont il offre une « illusion de présence » qui renforce le charisme de l’écrivain. Nous verrons alors comment la radio et la littérature entretiennent un rapport de légitimation mutuelle depuis près d’un siècle, dans une même ambition de susciter chez leur public une forme de rêverie.
Keywords: Surréalisme belge ; surréalisme français ; sociologie du surréalisme ; radio ; poésie
Supervisor: Denis Saint-Amand
In progress
Research Language(s): French
Web/social: https://researchportal.unamur.be/fr/persons/manon-houtart

– Howard, Claire
The University of Texas at Austin
PhD, Art & Art History

Surrealism and Post-World War II Culture: Journals and Exhibitions as Sites of Discourse, 1952–1969
This dissertation argues that in the 1950s and 1960s the Surrealist group around André Breton revitalized the movement through engagement with their post-World War II cultural context. As a result, this overlooked period in the movement’s history does not represent a retreat from the revolutionary principles on which Surrealism was founded in 1924, but a reinvestment in and expansion of its commitment to human liberation that was responsive to its times. Examination of Surrealist journals and exhibitions between 1952 and 1969 reveals the group’s interactions with specific postwar social, political, and artistic issues that demonstrate that while the membership and manifestations of Surrealism in this period were different from those of its interwar years, late Surrealism was no less engaged.

While both mid-century and contemporary critics have charged post-World War II Surrealism with irrelevance, new, younger members helped to reestablish the movement in Paris. Until the group’s 1969 dissolution, they pursued collective activities that challenged the culture of their day. Approaching late Surrealism from the perspective of its cultural history reveals how the movement’s members navigated the shifting social and political landscape of post-World War II France within an international framework. In their journals, the Surrealists addressed topics including decolonization, the space race, abstract painting, formalism, sexual liberation, and Black Power. Surrealist exhibitions in Paris (1959, 1965), New York (1960), and Czechoslovakia (1968) amplified the journals’ discourse, exploring these and other current cultural issues through innovative exhibition design, collaboratively produced objects and installations, and performance. While these exhibitions paid homage to Surrealism’s history, its new members were unafraid to retheorize Surrealist tenets, stressing both continuity with Surrealism’s founding principles and their contemporaneity.

Beyond rethinking the history of Surrealism itself, this dissertation reinserts Surrealism into the postwar era as both historical touchstone for and contemporary of tendencies including Neo-Dada, Lyrical Abstraction, installation, and performance art. What emerges from this study is a vastly different—but more complete—picture of Surrealism than has previously been known.
Keywords: journals, exhibitions, postwar, cultural history, Paris
Supervisor: Linda Dalrymple Henderson
Year completed/anticipated: 2020
Research Language(s): French, English
Web/social: https://utexas.academia.edu/ClaireHoward

– Inczauskis, David
Xavier University
MA, Classics and Modern Languages

Transcontinental Surrealism: André Breton’s L’Amour fou in the Poetry of César Moro, Xavier Villaurrutia, and Enrique Molina
Surrealism crossed the Atlantic in a definitive way when the Peruvian poet César Moro traveled to Paris shortly after the publication of André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto in 1924. Moro is representative of Latin American writers who sought to engage with surrealism in France and return to the Americas to develop their distinctive incarnation of the artistic movement. This presentation offers a literary analysis of three poems: “Carta a Antonio” (1939) by César Moro of Perú, “Nuestro amor” (1948) by Xavier Villaurrutia of Mexico, and “Alta marea” (1961) by Enrique Molina of Argentina. These poems encapsulate the extent to which Breton’s ideas marked their creative careers. The criticism will specifically draw from excerpts of Breton’s L’amour fou (1937) to provide a context for the interpretation of the poems’ surrealist elements. First, the presentation will detail what is shared among all three poems and L’amour fou. These qualities include inexhaustible sexual desire, the paradox of union and separation, the eternally vivid sexual object, and the necessity of violence in eroticism. Second, the presentation will focus on what only Moro and Breton hold in common. These characteristics include the relationship between necessity and chance, the uniquely surrealist interpretation of the divinization of the beloved, and love’s specter-like quality. The presence of these surrealist components in the writings of these American poets demonstrates the transnational character of surrealism, which owes itself to the universality of erotic desire.
Keywords: Poetry, Breton, Moro, Villaurrutia, Molina
Supervisor: Dr. Olympia Gonzalez, Loyola University Chicago
Year completed/anticipated: 2019
Research Language(s): English, Portuguese, Spanish
Web/social: https://www.xavier.edu/cml/directory/david-inczauskis

– Kenny, Eva
Princeton University
PhD, Comparative Literature

Vox Manet: Samuel Beckett’s Novels of Possession and Dispossesion, 1938-1955
Year completed/anticipated: 2018
Research Language(s): English
Web/social: @evakenny

– King, Taya
Queen Mary University of London
Other, Film Studies

Beauty or the Beast?: Monstrous Transformations and the Subversion of Gender Identity in the Gothic Film
Year completed/anticipated: 2020
Research Language(s): English

– Libman, Ben
Stanford University
PhD, English

Mapping the literary afterlives of surrealism among American poets and novelists, as well as the influence of American modernists on the Parisian avant-garde of the ’20s and ’30s.
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2023
Research Language(s): French, English
Web/social: benlibman.com, @benlibman (Twitter)

– MacKenzie, Megan
American University
MA, Art History

The Darkroom as Weapon? Anti-Colonialism and Ethnography in Raoul Ubac’s Penthésilée Photomontages
Belgian Surrealist Raoul Ubac’s Penthésilée photomontages (1937-39) depict imagined scenes of graphic violence that fragment the female body to the point of rendering it illegible. This representational violence occurs not only on the iconographic level, but is also embedded in the surface of the photograph through the use of darkroom techniques such as solarization and brûlage. While Ubac’s photomontages have been examined through the lenses of Surrealist misogyny and the Spanish Civil War, they have not yet been considered in relation to the visual record of Belgian colonial violence in the Congo. Reading the iconography of Ubac’s images and his engagement with the legend of the ancient Amazons, this thesis analyzes the ways in which Ubac deployed the image of the Amazon as a gendered and racial “Other.” Ubac took as his sources of inspiration the Greek myth of the Amazonian queen, and Heinrich von Kleist’s Romantic play Penthesilea (1808), both of which frame Penthesilea as inferior to her Greek foe/lover, Achilles. By putting Ubac’s use of the Penthesilea myth in the context of the Surrealist movement’s anti-colonialist stance and the group’s ethnographic interest in “primitive” cultures, this thesis shows how Ubac critiqued photography’s use as a tool of imperialism while still mobilizing a primitivist discourse that supported and enabled colonial violence.
Keywords: colonialism, photography, Penthesilea, photomontage, Surrealism
Supervisor: Dr. Juliet Bellow
Year completed/anticipated: 2021
Research Language(s): English

– Mantegari Bertorelli, Sébastien
Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
MA, Art History

And the artist sees the voices. Esotericism and consciousness awakening in the painted work of Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)
Increasingly, academic works and artistic exhibitions demonstrate the importance of spirituality and esoteric doctrines in the development of Modern Art, as well as in the birth of abstract painting, Bauhaus or Surrealism. The purpose of this research is to demonstrate the existence of esoteric symbolism in Leonora Carrington’s paintings, a surrealist female artist, and to explain the specific meaning of esotericism in Carrington’s artistic practice. Studying Carrington’s paintings and literary sources, I argue that Carrington uses symbols from the Kabala, Tarot, alchemy and Georges Gurdjieff’s doctrine to express her ideas about the role of women in society and in the spiritual world, and how esotericism is, in her mind, a universal means of expression of the unconscious, in a Jungian perspective.
Keywords: Leonora Carrington – Esotericism – Surrealism – Woman artist – Carl Gustav Jung
Supervisor: Philippe Dagen
Year completed/anticipated: 2019

– Mongelluzzo, Keri
Penn State
PhD, Art History

Bauhaus/Dream House: The Uncharted Surrealism of New Vision Photography
My project disrupts the mythology of interwar nationalism by examining how French Surrealist sensibilities gained traction with transient artists and photographers associated with the Bauhaus (1919–1933) in Germany.
Keywords: Bauhaus; Surrealism; Photography; New Vision; Avant-Garde
Supervisor: Dr. Nancy Locke
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2022
Research Language(s): French, German

– Mullin, Brianna
University of Toronto
PhD, French

Je(ux) littéraires et visuels de l’autoreprésentation surréaliste au féminin : Claude Cahun, Bona et Nelly Kaplan
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2024
Research Language(s): English, French

– Parkmann, Fedora
Sorbonne Université
PhD, Art History

Paris-Prague. Transferts en photographie, 1918-1939
This dissertation sets forth to explicate the transfers that occurred in photography between France and the Czech Lands during the interwar period. Rooted in a material approach of circulations of individuals, images and concepts, this study considers the Czech photographic scene in light of its specific relation to France and analyzes the resulting hybridizations. The research focuses on photographic vectors such as photomechanical reproductions, exhibition catalogues and the activities of mediators and photographers working between the two countries. It illuminates a network of relations between French, German and Russian impulses and describes also the export of a local photographic production. The Czech surrealist current is a prominent hybridization that resulted from the strong reception of the French photographic scene. It was exported again as an original Czech production, and as such exemplifies the process of mutual circulation and transformation that describes the concept of transfer. An expansive study of Czech journeys to France, their photographic experience of the country and their subsequent contribution to the “Paris school of photography” complete this overview of the interactions and transfers between both countries.

By situating Czech photography within the discourse of cultural transfers, this dissertation reveals actors, images, concepts and developments that until now have been critically absent from national photography histories. It also demonstrates how the receptivity of Czech photographers to France in return favored the emergence of photographic modernism in their country.
Keywords: photography; avant-garde; surrealism; cultural transfers; Czech Lands; France
Supervisor: Arnauld Pierre
Year completed/anticipated: 2017
Research Language(s): French

– Pyle, Isabelle
Lancaster University
PhD, Department of European Languages and Cultures

The Body Divine: Constructing Female Identity Through Mythological Imagery in Surrealism
My PhD thesis will expand this feminist scholarship, not only by studying the works of women associated with surrealism, but also by focusing on the use of mythology in their writing as well as in their visual art through sustained analysis of their practices of intersemiotism. This thesis aims to reframe the scholarship devoted to women surrealists, through analysis of surrealist literary devices (metaphor and allegory) and visual techniques (collage and photography), and positing that their intersemiotic practices define women’s surrealism as an artistic movement in its own right.
Keywords: Intersemiotic art practices, Mythological imagery, Self-identity, Female surrealism, Women and Gender Studies
Supervisor: Dr Veronique Lane
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2024
Research Language(s): English, French

– Rudosky, Christina
University of Colorado, Boulder
PhD, French and Italian

André Breton the Collector: A Surrealist Poetics of the Object
In 1937 André Breton declared in his surrealist novel L’Amour fou, “what I write is my life, my house,” suggesting a direct relationship between his writing and his home which was uniquely curated, wall to wall with collected objects. Breton’s statement, no doubt made in affirmation of the Surrealist project to revolutionize everyday life offers reflection on the complex experience of writing as a practice inspired by daily encounters with our material surroundings. The fact that Breton chose to live among a myriad of objects in his atelier, at 42 rue Fontaine, suggests the construction of an intimate relationship between his work, his house, and the material collection he inhabited. By the end of his life, Breton possessed more than 15,000 items in his home: man-made and natural objects, books, manuscripts and other miscellaneous curiosities and ephemera. In four chapters I draw from an investigation of archival art-objects and documents. This dissertation explores how Breton’s collecting practice directly influenced his literary and artistic production in Surrealism, ultimately defining a poetic of collecting in his work.
Keywords: Collecting, Objects, Poetics, Materiality, Breton
Supervisor: Dr. Elisabeth Arnould-Bloomfield
Year completed/anticipated: 2015
Research Language(s): English, French
Web/social: https://romancestudies.unc.edu/people/faculty/christina-rudosky/

– Santoro, Alyce
Rhode Island School of Design
MA, NatureCulture – Sustainability Studies

An Intricate Ensemble: The Art-Science of an Ecological Imaginary
The contradictions inherent in European Enlightenment-based “logics” that externalize humans from “nature” were a concern for the Romantic Naturalists, Dadaists, and Surrealists. Some in the environmental humanities and socio-ecologically-concerned arts and sciences have also posed challenges to anthropocentric, hierarchical, positivist modes of thought. By engaging the ludic, imaginative, and collaborative while bearing the empirical in mind, dualisms dissipate, and existence as a dialectical state of intricate ensemble can be revealed. I argue an “ecological imaginary” inspired by both arts and sciences is currently needed in light of socio-ecological disasters unfolding, and everyone is capable of contributing to its prefiguring.
Keywords: Social Imaginary, Surrealism, Avant-garde, Post-Humanism, Ecology
Supervisor: Damian White
Year completed/anticipated: 2019
Research Language(s): English
Web/social: http://www.alycesantoro.com

– Scott, Tor
University of Edinburgh / National Galleries Scotland
PhD, History of Art / Collections & Research

Edith Rimmington and British Surrealism
The focus of this Collaborative Doctoral Project is the life and career of Edith Rimmington (1902-1986), a British artist whose work has been much neglected despite her significant contributions to Surrealism. Little is known about Rimmington’s early life before 1936, when she visited the famous International Surrealist exhibition at the Burlington Galleries in London. By 1937 she was an established, if not formal, member of the British Surrealist Group and participated in the Surrealist Objects and Poems exhibition at the London Gallery that same year. Rimmington’s work was also exhibited internationally, most notably at the Surrealist Exhibition in Paris in 1947 at the Galerie Maeght. Rimmington’s painting, The Oneiroscopist (oil on canvas, 1947), has become emblematic of the British Surrealist movement and yet there have been no major research projects focusing on her paintings, drawings, collage, poetry or automatic writing.

This PhD will not only explore Rimmington’s writing and visual art in the context of her female contemporaries (such as Eileen Agar, Emmy Bridgewater, Marion Adnams and Ithell Colqhoun), but will make a case for her importance to the British and international Surrealist movements. This project draws on two years of research into the life and art of Edith Rimmington, conducted by the student, which began in the winter of 2018.
Keywords: Surrealism, war, death, palingenesis, Britain
Supervisor: Patricia Allmer, Patrick Elliott, Kirstie Meehan and Carole Jones.
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2025
Research Language(s): English
Web/social: @tor_scott

– Segura Pantoja, Karla
Université Cergy-Pontoise (CY Cergy-Paris Université)
PhD, French and Comparative Literature

Displaced surrealism : Inventory, establishment and study of the surrealist exiles’ literary and artistic work in Mexico
This thesis intends to explore and analyse the literary and visual work of a number of exiled artists and writers who have a particular link with the surrealist movement, and fled to Mexico. Several elements of the work of Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Wolfgang Paalen, Alice Rahon, Kati Horna, José Horna, Benjamin Péret, César Moro and Luis Buñuel are often unknown or rarely accessible to a large public. Their archives are scattered around the world and are often ignored. Our aim is to establish a chronological reconstitution of their lives, to inventory their work –particularly from 1938 to 1963, focusing on the exile phase – as well as to examine the aesthetic dialogue between them. The basis, activities and relationships that connect these artists come not only from their surrealist past but also from the exile they share; nevertheless, their interactions challenge their connection as a group. Their artworks communicate with each other and their exile is our starting point in order to analyse the reception of these works. Is there an inherent poetry of the exile in the work of these artists? We will answer this question by studying their common representations and by observing their strong influence in Latin American art and literature from the second half of the 20th century.
Keywords: Surrealism / Exile / Cultural transfers / Mexico / History of Art and Literature of the 20th Century
Supervisor: Catherine Mayaux and Gustavo Guerrero
Year completed/anticipated: 2018
Research Language(s): French
Web/social: https://ksegurapantoja.wordpress.com/

– Sunderland, Stephen
University of Salford
PhD, Arts & Media

Practice-led PhD: Initiation, Mimicry, Assimilation: a synthetic-magical exploration of the surrealist prose of Claude Cahun, Ithell Colquhoun & Leonora Carrington
Proceeding from a chance encounter with Bernard Roger’s 1951 provocation, ‘Plans for a Cinema at the Bottom of a Lake’, this project directly engages with Surrealism as a vehicle for self-exploration — through extended prose.

It focuses on the practice of Surrealism, as seen through the lens of ‘the outsider’, specifically exploring the dream-prose of three surrealist women: Claude Cahun, Ithell Colquhoun and Leonora Carrington. My critical creative response to their work comes in the form of an experimental, surrealist novel The Cinema Beneath the Lake, a quest story which features the writers themselves, taking them on a journey shaped by accidental collisions and an increasingly magical manipulation of its materials.

All three women often write from a deeply personal dark place, using surrealist methods to access and transform trauma and by doing so, control it or accede to it, momentarily. In mimicking this method — initially as a form of tribute — I allow the project to be determined by the exigencies of surrealist method, in the most radical way possible; giving my own traumatic experiences permission to inform the work.

The project aims to experience a deeper engagement with the act of writing in a surrealist mode, in pursuit of a greater understanding of the goals and work of these writers; and in seeking to understand what an embodied practice can differently reveal about them, and their relationship with Surrealism.
Keywords: Mimicry, Initiation, Dream-Prose, Therapy, Outsiders
Supervisor: Dr Ursula Hurley/ Dr Scott Thurston
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2022
Research Language(s): English
Web/social: Twitter: @Stephensunderla

– Taylor, Phil
Princeton University
PhD, Art & Archaeology

Raoul Ubac’s Photographic Surrealism
Supervisor: Anne McCauley
In progress
Year completed/anticipated: 2021
Research Language(s): English, French, German

– Vollbrechthausen Attolini, Ilse
Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi
MA, Facultad del Habitat

Surrealist female painters in Mexico from 1930-1960, a collective approach
Many were the women who ventured inside the Surrealist movement and found a way of expression. The Surrealism spread around the world and arrived in Mexico in the 1930’s along with many foreigners who came to live to this country because of the war in Europe. Among the expats there were many surrealist artists, male and female, particularly the painters Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Alice Rahon. They found themselves within a very varied Mexican art scene where other local artists like Frida Kahlo and Maria Izquierdo were in contact with the Surrealist movement as well. All being women and all being part of the Surrealism in Mexico raise the questions: what challenges did they face? And most importantly, was there a connection between them? Can we speak of a formed group of female surrealist painters in Mexico? Clues of the relationship between them can be found within their art and personal lives but whether they belonged to a specific group category, the female Surrealist painters in Mexico, or not, lies in the similarities of their art and the context among which it was created more than in their social connections and friendship.
Keywords: Surrealism, women, painters, group, collective
Year completed/anticipated: 2020
Research Language(s): Spanish