We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


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

Artist profile

  • Details

    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
    © Gleeson/O'Keefe Foundation

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    James Gleeson

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

Other works by James Gleeson

See all 502 works