Professor Sharmistha Ray’s Work Included in Survey of 100 Years of Surrealism

Posted on February 5, 2024

The work of Hilma’s Ghost, a feminist artist collective founded by Dannielle Tegeder and Professor Sharmistha Ray, is included in the exhibition “Playing with Closed Eyes, 100 Years of Surrealism.” The exhibition is on view at Galería RGR in Mexico City from February 6 through April 6.

The centenary of surrealism invites us to review through a non-historicist approach, the very definition of reality that in 1924 required an expanded or problematized notion of its confines due to the role that technology played in life, war, and the collective aspirations for change that proposed the search for a new political spectrum. Members of the surrealist founding group, some of whom were refugees in Mexico as well as in the Southern Cone, sought to renew the ruins of culture after the political and economic catastrophe caused by the Great European War and the terrible demographic consequences left by the Spanish flu, as well as the appearance of fascism. These conditions seem to resonate like alarms in the present. Recovering the exquisite corpse as a toolbox for playful creation and surreal invention is particularly productive when thinking of the contemporary debate on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Today, artificial intelligence shows transmuted realities and creates an imaginary that exacerbates the idea of the world, as imagined by surrealism, altering processes, and changing perception and the human experience.

This group exhibition, in addition to recovering the old surrealist practice of the exquisite corpse, views archives as a disease without aspiration for a cure and art as a space for dreaming, waking, and acting. Likewise, it arouses questions in a non-literal way about the conjunction between neural networks, computer games, and linguistic models present in AI to acquire a productive dimension when contrasting them with the aspiration to create a new reality unfolded by the need to explore the matter of dreams and the human psyche. Do machines play just like humans? Can they feel or dream like they do in science fiction? Or in the words of ChatGPT artificial intelligence creator Sam Altman, are [these machines] a tool or a creature?

Image: Hilma’s Ghost (Sharmistha Ray + Dannielle Tegeder), 36 x 48 inches, acrylic, spray paint, and flashe on canvas, 2024

Exhibition website