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This Impossible Toyen

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With the highly successful retrospective of her art at Prague's City Gallery (2000), the life and work of Toyen (née Marie Čermínová) has finally become more well-known outside of Czech- or Surrealist-specific circles. Though some forward movement has begun in the dissemination of Toyen's reputation as a leading artist of her generation, and one who has had a lasting influence on currents in art today, her legacy continues to be constrained by readings of her work that focus on her gender (e.g., she is often called one of the great female artists of the Surrealist movement, as if this category were one that piggy-backed the greater category of “Surrealist artist”). In spite of her life-long efforts at overcoming the gender gap, she still seems to be subsumed by the very art criticism that could instead restore a fruitful dialogue to her complex art. In conceptualizing Toyen's art in terms of its historicity and in understanding her use of anamorphosis as a hyper-realism, I add my voice to a progressive conversation.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-11-01

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