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'Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism & its Echoes', National Gallery of Victoria

Carl Plate, untitled collage 1945

AGNSW collection

'Lurid Beauty' (National Gallery of Victoria - 9 Oct 2015- 31 January 2016), traced the beginnings, developments and the influence of Surrealism in Australia. It placed historical and contemporary art works in dialogue and correspondence around Surrealist tendencies, techniques, and conceptual terrains to consider their continued resonance today.

'Carl Plate employed collage in his art practice throughout his life. Sydney-born Plate lived in London from 1934 to 1940 and was exposed to the burgeoning movement of British Surrealism. He was one of a number of Australian artists who visited the first International Surrealist Exhibition, held in London in 1936, recalling that the exhibition had the most profound influence upon him.'

'It was a turning point. I felt "this was where I come in"... I was never part of the subconscious/Freudian manifesto, but it's influenced the whole of the twentieth century; life itself is surreal. Its essential quality has always appealed to me very closely. Not as a style but as an attitude.' Carl Plate, in an Interview with Richard Haese, State Library of Victoria, 1974

'Upon his return to Sydney, Plate became an active early member of the Sydney branch of the Contemporary Art Society, and his Notanda Gallery became Sydney's epicentre for art books, magazines, reproductions of contemporary art , affordable postcards and theoretical debate. Plate's collages of the mid-1940s employed magazine illustrations and postcards, onto which incongruous images were applied, suggesting fantastic or absurd narratives or dreamlike combinations.' Lurid Beauty catalogue, p. 44

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