The Unreal City

Twilight Visions: Surrealism, Photography and Paris

"Beloved imagination, what I most like in you is your unsparing quality.” Such statements littered André Breton’s surrealist manifesto of 1924 - an explosive text that aimed to topple bourgeois values and lift Europe’s gloom in the aftermath of World War I. Surrealism’s birthplace was Paris, home to artists such as Salvador Dali and Man Ray. Though these names were to be remembered for their full devotion to surrealism, the movement also inspired Paris-based photographers such as André Kertesz, Ilse Bing and Germaine Krull, who used surrealist techniques—including montage and reflection—to immortalize the city around them. An exhibition of surreal images of roaring twenties Paris opens this month at New York’s International Center of Photography.
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