The Ubu diptych
James Gleeson turns 90
This display celebrates the 90th birthday of Australia’s premier surrealist artist James Gleeson. The Ubu diptych, one of the artist’s most recent works, is widely regarded as one of his greatest.
The titles of the two parts, Ubu regnant and The senior mandarin, refer to plays by the late 19th-century French playwright Alfred Jarry – lunatic but exhilarating parodies that anticipate the notion of the avant-garde as well as the surrealist humour of the Goons and Monty Python. The absurd humour of the text, however, belies Gleeson’s serious intent.
This exhibition displays the diptych alongside related paintings and drawings.