Antony Penrose

A Childhood with the Surrealists

Falmouth Art Gallery

28 January to 3 March 2012

The Surrealist invention of the ‘Exquisite Corpse’ provided the inspiration for Andrew Lanyon and Antony Penrose’s New Expressions 2 commissions – both part of the exhibition, A Childhood with the Surrealists, which was at Falmouth Art Gallery between 28 January and 3 March 2012.

‘Exquisite Corpse’ is a figurative visual form of the written game ‘Consequences’. The exhibition unfolded through a series of letters, drawings, photographs, collages and small scale, portable sculptures, exchanged between the two artists over a four-month period in 2011. Hung alongside were works from the gallery’s ‘Surrealist in Cornwall Collection’, including pieces by Roland Penrose, Max Ernst and Lee Miller, selected by the artists during a visit to Falmouth at the start of the exchange.

The new works celebrate Lanyon and Penrose’s shared past as children of leading 20th Century artists.

Lanyon and Penrose worked collaboratively, creating their own ‘Exquisite Corpses’ through an exchange of Surrealist-inspired art and ideas from their respective studios in Cornwall and East Sussex.

Antony Penrose’s work delights in the Surrealist’s sense of the absurd. Recycled pickle jars are the inspiration for art pieces based on a play on words: Day Jar View, Night Jar and J’aime Jar. The Gardening Angel, constructed from a garden fork; the Flowering Current, artfully fashioned from electrical cable.

Letters exchanged between Lanyon and Penrose as part of the project tell tales of made-up meetings with artists, fictional alter-egos and flights of fancy. These letters refer directly to the work, yet also resonate in a broader context.

The result is a unique body of playful and witty work, ingeniously made, each artist quite distinct from the other.

Antony Penrose Profile Image


New Expressions 2 artist Antony Penrose is a writer, artist, playwright, lecturer and curator and runs the Lee Miller Archive and the Roland Penrose Estate. His latest book, 'The Boy who bit Picasso' was published in 2010.