The Savage Eye

Experience some of history’s most significant artists, including Salvador Dalí, Vincent van Gogh, Louise Bourgeois, and Pablo Picasso, in a surreal exhibition that explores dreams, insanity, sex, and revolution.


Floor 3
12.02.2022 – 08.05.2022

In this illuminating exhibition you will become familiar with two radical art movements that both explored the psyche with the aim of establishing a new concept of humanity. Through artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Paul Gauguin, Dora Maar, René Magritte, Lee Miller, Joan Miró, Odilon Redon, and Auguste Rodin we will take you on a journey through the limitless world of the unconscious.

Symbolism as a movement in literature and the visual arts emerged in the 1880s. Influenced by the contemporary interest in spirituality and psychology, Symbolist artists rejected naturalistic depictions of the real world and instead turned their attention towards a world of spirituality and dreams. Some decades later, in 1924, the French poet André Breton wrote his Manifesto of Surrealism, in which he argued that art should transform society by uniting the worlds of dreams and reality. In order to succeed, the artists should free themselves from rational and moral concerns and seek to tap into the revolutionary power of the unconscious mind.

Through various thematic perspectives and a range of media, this landmark exhibition will shed new light on the history of Surrealism. With the idea of the unconscious as a turning point, The Savage Eye traces the roots of Surrealism in Symbolism and shows how the two art movements both reflect each other and overlap. Some of the most significant artists in modern art meet here in the murky depths of the human mind, where logic and morality give way to dreams, disturbing impulses, and unbridled desire.

Key works

Video introduction

    The exhibition is made by

  • Project Team

    Curator: Lars Toft-Eriksen
    Assistant Curator: Emil Leth Meilvang
    Concept Developer Learning: Nikita Mathias
    Project Manager: Mathis Junker Gran
    Text Editor: Hanna Hille Stoltenberg
    Registrars: Margrete Molid Kvæl, Tiril Krabbesund
    Installation registrars: Tine Schmidt Haislund, Adriane Solberg, Patricia Tveter, Charlotte Bouchard-Lafond, Una Hamilton Helle
    Head of Marketing: Tone Brunner
    Technical Manager: Lasse A. Baklien
    Technical Producer: Benny André Lund
    AV Consultant: Karl Richard Alexandersson
    Chief Light Technician: Tara Fox
     Art Technician Management: Johan Øvergård & Timothy Brignall
     Art Technicians: Michelle Bonnefoy, Matthias Förster, Tomas Einarsson, Maren Reese, Calle Segelberg, Jonas Greni, Marius Mathisrud, Steffen Sætereie, Andrea Galiazzo, Eskil Bast, Maarten Sleeuwits
    Painting Conservators: Inger Barbara Grimstad, Jin Strand Ferrer, Mie Mustad, Lina Wulff Flogstad
    Paper Conservators: Gry Landro, Emma Chan, Magdalena Godzimirska, Marthe Aambø
    Sculpture Conservator: Joanna Hench, Mari Bjørge
    Security: Marie Kristine Skorstad
    Photo: Ove Kvavik

    Voice for Sound Production :
    Petronella Barker

    Research Advisors:
    Professor emeritus David Lomas, University of Manchester
    Førsteamanuensis Allison Morehead, Queen's University 
    Professor Gavin Parkinson, Courtauld Institute of Art

  • Design & Architecture

    Exhibition Design: neumann schneider architekten PartG mbB, Berlin
    Graphic Design: neumann schneider architekten PartG mbB, Berlin
    Light Design: Erik Hedin, Zenisk

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