fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Toyen
La Biennale di Venezia

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1902, Czech Republic – 1980, France

  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

In 1925, when she moved to the epicentre of international Surrealism in Paris, Marie Čermínová was just twenty years old and a member of the Czech avant-garde movement Devětsil. A few years before this, she had also adopted the pseudonym Toyen: inspired by the French word citoyen (citizen), it avoided strong connotations of gender (she also used first-person masculine constructions in Czech). Toyen switched between male and female clothing, proclaimed attraction to women, and expressed – above all through art – a sexuality freed of all curbs and constraints.  From the smallest illustration to the largest oil painting, almost all of Toyen’s works are highly erotic. The many women in these images by turns seem strong and vulnerable: always on the point of becoming fearsome predators or shattered porcelain dolls. In keeping with the ambiguous title – which might refer to military training –, each of the twelve drawings in the portfolio The Shooting Gallery (Střelnice) (1939–1940) shows a different postwar scene; amid fragments of buildings and corpses of animals, the only survivors that emerge are faceless girls or huge broken toys. In quintessentially Surrealist fashion, they lend themselves to many different interpretations.

Stefano Mudu

Central Pavilion
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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte