Farewell to Surrealism: The Dyn Circle in Mexico

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Dyn, no. 3 , Fall 1942 11 1/8 X 8 7/8 X 1/4 In., The Getty Research Institute, 84 S23 © Succession Paalen, Paalen Archiv, Berin
People dressed as dogs for the Fiesta of Huchuenchis in Huixquilcan, Mexico, 1940 Color Lithograph 17 1/2 X 12 1/2 In. © Alma Merida
Pyramid of magician, Uxmal, Yucata, Mexico, 1939 Gelatin Silver Print 8 1/8 X 7 3/4 In. © Succession Wolfgang Paalen and Eva Sulzer, Berlin
Farewell to Surrealism: The Dyn Circle in Mexico

1200 Getty Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
October 2nd, 2012 - April 14th, 2013
Opening: October 2nd, 2012 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM

santa monica/venice
Tue-Fri, Sun 10-5:30; Sat 10-9. Closed Mondays and on January 1, July 4 (Independence Day), Thanksgiving, and December 25 (Christmas Day).


This exhibition focuses on the international group of writers and artists who collaborated on Dyn, a unique journal created in Mexico in the 1940s.

In 1939, three artists, Wolfgang Paalen, Alice Rahon, and Eva Sulzer, left Paris to explore the indigenous ruins of the Pacific Northwest and pre-Columbian Mexico. They settled in Mexico City, becoming part of an international group of surrealist artists and writers exiled there during the 1940s.

Haunted by the Second World War, inspired by science, and seduced by archaeological discoveries, these artists defined a new direction for their art and played a crucial role in the transition from surrealism to abstract expressionism. They created a journal, Dyn, to demonstrate their differences with surrealist colleagues in New York and Paris. From 1942 to 1944, six issues of Dyn were published and distributed in New York, London, Paris, and Mexico City. The journal included the work of avant-garde writers, painters, and photographers, as well as scholarly contributions by anthropologists and archaeologists.

The painters and photographers who contributed to Dyn shared a fascination with the indigenous past of the Americas. Dyn's painters merged imagery from physics, mathematics, geology, and archaeology with motifs from pre-Columbian and Pacific Northwest indigenous objects to create works of visual abstraction. Dyn's photographers generated images that oscillate between anthropological document and antirealist image. In doing so, they extended the ethnographic impulse at the heart of the surrealist tradition.