Surreal Bodies

Find out more about the theme for this year's Anatomical Art Exhibition.

The Tate defines surrealism as "a twentieth-century literary, philosophical and artistic movement that explored the workings of the mind, championing the irrational, the poetic and the revolutionary". Surrealist artists have been portraying the human body for centuries. One could even consider the detailed anatomical sketches of early masters conforming with this style; with little access to the dissection and surgical technologies of today, the imagination would have been an important component of human-form-centred pieces.


In modern times, artists like the renowned Frida Kahlo have expressed the medicalised and painful experience of living with chronic disease, while the surrealist pioneer Salvador Dalí painted the human faces and bodies in alluring and mysterious ways. With the influences of globalisation, social injustice, the digital age, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic indelibly tied to our artists' work this year, we are proud to present a series of paintings, graphite and ink renderings, digital drawings, collages, studies, photographs, sculptures, films, and poems that will make you marvel, despair, and look inwards as you think about your own anatomy and that of others around you.