Irrational Ingenuity, at Heights Arts

Members of No Exit New Music Ensemble

From furry walls to billowing fabric eyes, the landscape of Irrational Objects: Backwards into the Future envelops its viewers in the surreal. A “fruit basket” is a baby doll. A “housewarming gift” shifts from soft to sharp. The Venus de Milo floats, suspended, over waves of sand.

Born of No Exit New Music Ensemble’s yearlong exploration of Surrealism, Irrational Objects takes its inspiration from illogical objects created by early Dadaists and Surrealists. The exhibition, presented at Heights Arts, seeks to push these ideals forward—both a homage to the past and a glimpse of the future.

“The Dadaists sought to subvert, dismantle, mock, and give an alternate meaning to things that they identified with the established order,” says Artistic Director Tim Beyer. “The Surrealists did much the same, but did so with the ultimate goal of liberating the mind and revolutionizing human experience. Found object constructions were an ideal way to do this.”

Featuring the work of artists Edwin Wade, Steven Mastroianni, Jeremy Paul, and Beyer, the show will also emphasize the transformation of its environment via elements of set design—Wade will create kinetic artworks inspired by twentieth-century sculptor Alexander Calder.

“My process has basically been to take on the persona of Calder, learn his methods of working, and try to emulate that as closely as possible,” Wade says.

Irrational also serves as the backdrop to Piano Dada, a concert series highlighting both experimental pieces and music presented at 1920’s Festival Dada.

“At the heart of Surrealism is not a style so much as it is a set of ideas and methods,” says Beyer. “People are once again questioning the rational constructs and mores of our society and are realizing that the accepted reality is not necessarily all there is to it. Things have lined up in such a way as to give the ideology and goals of Surrealism a renewed urgency.”

By freeing everyday objects from their usefulness, these movements sought to both subvert expectations and open new pathways of perception—an effort No Exit sees as timeless.

“So much of what the Dadaists and Surrealists did, the ideas and methods that they pioneered, has become rather ubiquitous in our current time,” Beyer says. “We hope, in some modest way, to recreate some of the excitement, surprise and magic that viewers may have experienced when seeing and hearing a show like this ninety years ago.”

2175 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118


Irrational Objects—Looking Back into the Future, March 15

No Exit’s Year of Surreality: Piano Dada with Shuai Wang, March 16

EKPHRASTACY: Artists Talk and Poets Respond to Irrational Objects, April 18

Cleveland Heights High School Student Exhibition: Unintentional Beauty, May 16

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