The Ubu Diptych
James Gleeson turns ninety
21 November – 18 December 2005
Twentieth Century Australian galleries, Ground Level

James Gleeson, 'Ubu regnant' James Gleeson, 'The senior mandarin'

James Gleeson Ubu regnant (left) and The senior mandarin (right) 2004.
Collection of James Gleeson © James Gleeson

This installation celebrates the ninetieth birthday of Australia's premier surrealist artist James Gleeson. The Ubu diptych, one of the artist's most recent works, is widely regarded as one of his greatest. The titles of the two parts, Ubu regnant and The senior mandarin, refer to plays by the late nineteenth century French playwright, Alfred Jarry - lunatic but exhilarating parodies that anticipate the notion of the avant-garde as well as the surrealist humour of the Goons and Monty Python. The absurd humour of the text, however, belies Gleeson's serious intent. This focus exhibition displays the diptych alongside related paintings and drawings.

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