Love in the 20th Century, according to the poet Arthur Rimbaud, had to be reinvented. Nowadays, in a world full of crisis and conflicts, tensed between opposite ideals, and submitted to increased individualism and intense consumption, love is seriously threatened and regularly challenged. Paradoxically, love in the 21st Century has never been so linked to individual identity and happiness.
What We Call Love explores how the notion of love has evolved within the 20th century. How have seismic sociological changes concerning sexuality, marriage and intimacy, alongside developments in gender issues, affected the way we conceive love today? How does visual art, from Surrealism to the present day, deal with love and what can these artistic representations tell us about what love means in our contemporary culture?
Drawing on contemporary sociology, neuroscience and of course art, What We Call Love sheds some light on these questions. While we cannot give a final definition of “what is love” we can examine how artists have represented it. Presented in three chapters, the exhibition draws on Surrealism’s idea of love as “amour fou” (crazy love), new visions of love which emerged after the 60’s and the often problematic concerns of contemporary love.
Focusing mainly on the now, this important exhibition will present a succinct selection of carefully chosen Surrealist works, alongside key conceptual and contemporary pieces, integrating new commissions and other works in the forms of cinema and performance. Texts and interviews from three leaders in their respective fields; Georges Sebbag on Surrealism, Eva Illouz on sociology and Semir Zeki on neuroscience will contribute to this reflection.
Curated by Christine Macel, Chief Curator at Centre Pompidou, with Rachael Thomas, Head of Exhibitions at IMMA, What We Call Love will include works from Cecily Brown, Miriam Cahn, Elmgreen and Dragset, Jim Hodges, Jeremy Shaw, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Alberto Giacometti, Louise Bourgeois , Meret Oppenheim, Annette Messager, Andy Warhol, Rebecca Horn, Marina Abramoviæ, Nan Goldin, Wolfgang Tillmans and others. IMMA will also be commissioning new works for this exhibition, artists to be announced.