Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art

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by Dawn Ades, Olivier Berggruen, J. Patrice Marandel, Nicholas Hall (Introduction)

Lineages of the eerie, the strange and the fantastical: from Blake, Goya and Redon to Borremans, Yuskavage and Marshall
Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art explores the ways in which artists have sought to explain their world in terms of an alternate reality, drawn from imagination, the subconscious, poetry, nature, myth, and religion.
Endless Enigma takes as its point of departure Alfred H. Barr Jr.’s legendary 1936 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, which not only introduced these movements to the American public, but also placed them in a historical and cultural context by situating them among artists from earlier centuries.
Presenting works from the 12th century to the present day, the book is organized into six themes―Monsters & Demons, Dreams & Temptation, Fragmented Body, Unconscious Gesture, Super Nature, and Sense of Place. Works included range from medieval gargoyles to 20th-century works by Louise Bourgeois, Sigmar Polke and Pablo Picasso as well as contemporary works by Michaël Borremans and Marcel Dzama. Masterworks from the likes of Piero di Cosimo, Francisco de Goya and Titian are considered alongside those by William Blake and Odilon Redon. Time folds and temporal barriers collapse when Damiano Cappelli meets Edvard Munch, and Salvator Rosa encounters Lisa Yuskavage. Salvador Dalí, Sherrie Levine, Kerry James Marshall―eight centuries intersect and, as such, this wide-ranging catalog examines affinities in intention and imagery between works executed across a broad span of time.

240 pages
Published 2019