22 OCTOBER 1954, Page 12

ART THE exhibition at the Institute of Contem- porary Arts,

Collages and Objects, is really an exhibition of forty years of Dada art, even though it includes artists, from Picasso to Pasmore, who would disclaim the tag. The effect is curious, fusty as the stuffed owl in the attic, yet not without a forgotten strangeness. It is rather like seeing The Cabinet of Dr. Caligarl again. Having placed the collage in history and the museums, it is disturbing to find 'there is still enough current in the battery to administer a mild shock. The papier colle of the cubists, we know, employed printed veneers, wall- papers, winebottle-labels and so on, as a kind of shorthand for plastic values and effects; they were used with conscious deliberation and selection, and were inter- changeable with similar effects produced by sheer manual dexterity. The collage of the Dada artists, largely of illustrational matter assembled as arbitrarily as maybe, sought to exploit the element of surprise and shock present in the very familiar by the fortuitous encounter . . . of mutually distant realities.' The former sparked off non-figurative painting through Malewitch and the 'supre- matists' ; the latter led to surrealism proper. Both sorts, together with related three- dimensional objects, are shown at the 1.C.A., and it is interesting to find several contem- poraries using the technique in a third way. Paolozzi, for example, and Austin Cooper, paint their scraps of paper first, and then assemble them by intuition, working, one assumes, with a free automatism comparable to thA of Jackson Pollock.

There is no need to believe that all art is imprisoned here in a pot of paste, some strips of glasspaper, a few old bus tickets and a photograph cut from the daily paper, to recognise afresh the qualities of familiar textures. We all need refresher-courses from time to time. This kind of art demands a heightened sensibility from the spectator no less than from the artist (we might indeed just as well cut out the artist and put the spectator down in front of Leonardo's wall, except that he would probably not look at it). The collage has come to be recog- nised in art schools as a means of developing studenteperceptions; it does the rest of us no harm occasionally to limber up likewise.

At the Arcade Gallery there is a small exhibition—the first in this country—of watercolours and oils by Edgard Tytgat, the most lighthearted of those so-called Flemish expressionists who received their initial impetus from Permeke. Tytgat's rollypolly figures inhabit an engagingly naive world that is redolent pf the Twenties that gave it birth.

Hail to a new gallery—Arthur Jeffress, at 28 Davies Street—with a policy. Here we are to see Sunday Painters, trompe-l'oeil and what the Americans call 'magic realism' (which is only another name for that kind of neo-romantic painting which teeters on the edge of surrealism without ever quite dislocating cause and effect). The gallery kicks off with a new set of Victorian fantasies by our gay and charming E. Box. Her themes are of loneliness, exile, winter, farewell, only children, the last rose—but so sumptuously are they stated, in colours as rich as Victorian plush, .that one is apt not to see the theme for the lions and tigers.