Vancouver Art Gallery = Awesome

La poupée, 1936

I popped in at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday to see four really great exhibits (visit the current exhibitions page to read about them all). The big show on right now is “The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art” (it’s just been extended, so you’ll have until October 5th to see it).

I’m not really into Surrealism: too often it intends to shock and showcase the artist’s cleverness (most likely why I enjoyed it so much as a teenager). That said, I do appreciate its importance, and understand that it was a product of its environment.

My favorite, favorite, favorite piece was La poupée by Hans Bellmer. Although the project (as it would now be categorized) began around 1934, it feels more contemporary than the rest of the exhibition. The photographs are only about two inches by three and apparently of a person. On closer inspection, it turns out it’s an almost life-sized doll and the image becomes profoundly disturbing. I couldn’t stop looking, and found the above image especially beautiful. La poupée has the passion and truth I find lacking in most Surrealist works.

Les Jeux de la poupée, plate 9, 1949

If you’re interested in reading more about La poupée and Hans Bellmer, this essay by Sue Taylor is really good.


I discovered, thanks to the inquiries of a friend, that the VAG has out-of-town memberships for only $55. I only used to visit when I wanted to see at least two of the current shows; I really couldn’t justify the cost for only one floor of art. Now I can go every time I’m in Vancouver, bring a guest with one of the two included passes, AND attend openings. How awesome is that?