Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. In line with decisions made by the National Cabinet as communicated by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Gallery is observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of all visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), including timed-entry tickets. More information




Australian art

View More:


The image of the king riven by a bolt of lightning, is revealed as a silo of spaghetti



James Gleeson


21 Nov 1915 - 20 Oct 2008


James Gleeson’s main interest as a devotee of surrealism was to open up the realm of the imagination, by expanding our conceptions of reality beyond the materially visible. He favoured collage for its ability to generate new, unfamiliar and unexpected forms, through chance and juxtaposition. Collecting photocopied images from books, magazines and newspapers, including illustrations of human and animal anatomy from medical texts or insect life under a microscope from science journals – he selected each element for its shape or texture.

This collage also incorporates frottage and decalcomania (rubbing and transfer techniques used by a number of surrealists, including Max Ernst) creating electrically charged visions of the bizarre and fantastical. It is from Gleeson’s most important series of collages of the late 1970s,
'Locus Solus suite', which took its title from a surrealist novel by French author Raymond Roussel.




Media categories

Drawing , Collage

Materials used

synthetic polymer paint, photocopy collage, brush and ink, relief printing, wash, frottage on paper


102.5 x 68.8 sheet; 129.7 x 94.3 x 3.7 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, black ink "Gleeson 78".


Gift of Frank O'Keefe 1987


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

James Gleeson

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 3 publications


Renée Free, James Gleeson: images from the shadows, Sydney, 1993, 152 (illus.). figure 25

Ken Wach., James Gleeson: beyond the screen of sight, 'James Gleeson and Surrealism: the inexhaustible murmur', Sydney, 2004, 36 (col. illus.), 37-38.

James Gleeson: beyond the phenomenal world, 1987. cat. no. 1