A Tale of Mother's Bones Exhibition Catalogue


Image of A Tale of Mother's Bones Exhibition Catalogue

Dr Grace Pailthorpe (1883–1971) and Reuben Mednikoff (1906–1972) began collaborating in 1935. While Mednikoff was a trained artist, Pailthorpe had previously served as a surgeon in the First World War and studied psychoanalysis. Combining their skills and knowledge, they spent decades of their lives researching how art and writing might liberate individuals and societies from violence and oppression.

Although they exhibited with leading Surrealist artists in the 1930s, the work of Pailthorpe and Mednikoff is still relatively unknown. Drawing on new archival research, A Tale of Mother’s Bones tells the story of the artists’ lives through their works. ‘Psychorealism’ was a term Pailthorpe and Mednikoff invented to describe their creative process. They produced work freely and often very quickly, using psychoanalytic interpretation in order to unlock its hidden meanings and messages.

This richly illustrated book includes an expansive new essay that explores how Pailthorpe and Mednikoff used a tale they told about their art and their earliest memories to think about their adult relationships, gender, spiritual beliefs, the critical reception their work received, and the rise of Fascism. The book also features seven contemporary responses from the fields of art, art history, medical humanities and modern literature, bringing new theories, ideas, and approaches to an understanding and appreciation of seven individual works.

Edited by Hope Wolf with Rosie Cooper, Martin Clark and Gina Buenfeld.

A Tale of Mother’s Bones: Grace Pailthorpe, Reuben Mednikoff and the Birth of Psychorealism
6 October 2018 – 20 January 2019
De La Warr Pavilion


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