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César Moro's Transnational Surrealism

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Known primarily as a surrealist poet, César Moro also created numerous paintings and collages in a surrealist mode. Born in Peru, Moro made the obligatory sojourn to Paris in 1925

Known primarily as a surrealist poet, César Moro also created numerous paintings and collages in a surrealist mode. Born in Peru, Moro made the obligatory sojourn to Paris in 1925 to immerse himself in European avant-garde activities. In 1928 he met André Breton and began to experiment with surrealist technique as a means to push both his painting and his poetry in new directions. Moro was one of the first Latin American artists to take up collage as an autonomous art form, creating images that combine text with photographs from advertisements, scientific journals, and newspapers in bizarrely incongruous ways.
When he returned to Peru, Moro organized the first exhibition of surrealist art in Latin America at the Academía Alcedo in Lima, Peru in 1935. Given the dominance of Indigenism in the visual arts in Peru, this was a bold move on Moro’s part. While the exhibition baffled the public, it introduced new possibilities to young artists working in Peru and challenged the ascendancy of Indigenism. In 1938 Moro left Peru for Mexico where he would remain for the next decade. There he renewed his contact with Breton and the two joined forces, together with the painter Wolfgang Paalen, to organize the Exposición Internacional del Surrealismo at the Galería de Arte Mexicano in 1940.
This essay will trace César Moro’s extensive engagement with surrealism, from his early participation in Breton’s surrealist group in Paris, to the exhibition he organized in Peru, and finally to Mexico. By examining closely Moro’s surrealist collages and paintings, I hope to reveal the depth of his involvement with the movement, as an artist, poet, and organizer on a transnational scale.

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Date Created
  • 2013

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 7 No. 1 (2013)

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The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 7 No. 1 (2013) - Table of Contents

“Introduction to the Issue and Special Section on Native American Surrealisms” by Claudia Mesch, p.

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 7 No. 1 (2013) - Table of Contents

“Introduction to the Issue and Special Section on Native American Surrealisms” by Claudia Mesch, p. i-iv. 

“George Morrison’s Surrealism” by W. Jackson Rushing III, p. 1-18. 

“César Moro’s Transnational Surrealism” by Michele Greet, p. 19-51. 

“A Modernist Moment: Native Art and Surrealism at the University of Oklahoma” by Mark A. White, p. 52-70.

“The Opposite of Snake: Surrealism and the Art of Jimmie Durham” by Mary Modeen, p. 71-95. 

“‘My World is Surreal,’ or ‘The Northwest Coast’ is Surreal” by Charlotte Townsend-Gault, p. 96-107. 

“Complexity and Contradiction in Native American Surrealism” by Robert Silberman, p. 108-130. 

“Review of ‘Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy’ & Kay Sage, ‘The Biographical Chronology and Four Surrealist One Act Plays’” by Larry List, p. 131-134.

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Date Created
  • 2013