The image of the king riven by a bolt of lightning, is revealed as a silo of spaghetti
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.
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
© Gleeson/O'Keefe Foundation
Shown in 4 exhibitions
James Gleeson: beyond the phenomenal world, David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 23 Oct 1987–12 Nov 1987
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
James Gleeson: Beyond the screen of sight:
Art of parts: collage and assemblage from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Sep 2016–13 Nov 2016
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