Surreal Salon Soiree: Enter if you dare

Photo provided by Baton Rouge GalleryBaton Rouge Gallery Executive Director Jason Andreasen, far right, with costumed attendees, from left, Dana Beuhler, David Rushing, Karla King and Yvette Creel take part in the 2012 Surreal Salon Soiree.
Photo provided by Baton Rouge GalleryBaton Rouge Gallery Executive Director Jason Andreasen, far right, with costumed attendees, from left, Dana Beuhler, David Rushing, Karla King and Yvette Creel take part in the 2012 Surreal Salon Soiree.

Welcome to the carnival, where reality gives way to, well, whatever world you like.

Really.

The Surreal Salon Soiree is your dimension, your party, your chance to be anyone you like. And it begins with the Elevator Projects’ installation outside the gallery, offering visitors a trip inspired by surrealist games.

Now, these are a variety of word and graphical games used by surrealists for the purpose of expanding an unseen singularity into a horizon and beyond. And Elevator Projects’ goal is to create such an atmosphere when it creates an original, five-room installation for this party that coincides with Baton Rouge Gallery’s annual national juried exhibition, Surreal Salon, which runs through Thursday, Jan. 31.

“It will be constructed like carnivals in the 1920s dust bowl era,” said Jason Andreasen, the gallery’s executive director. “Carnival tent walls during that time were built with curtains.”

So, welcome to the carnival, where people and artwork become one.

So, it seems only appropriate that this journey begins outside the gallery’s entrance.

Elevator Projects is a Baton Rouge art collective that creates pop-up experimental art exhibitions. The group’s installation will be highlighted by members of professional contemporary dance company Of Moving Colors dancing nearby.

“They won’t be performing a choreographed dance,” Andreasen said. “They’ll be moving.”

And visitors also will be moving, passing through this surreal world outside and into the gallery to celebrate the fifth annual Surreal Salon Soiree, where costumes aren’t required but preferred.

The party runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26.

“And this year, our musical entertainment will be performing on the lawn downstairs behind the gallery,” Andreasen said. “That’s a change from past years, when we’ve had the musical entertainment on the patio. This will give us more room to mingle.”

This year’s musical entertainment will be The New Orleans Bingo Show, which not only performs live but incorporates its original videos in its show.

“They produce their own videos, and we’re going to set up the inflatable screen we use for our summer film series as a backdrop for them,” Andreasen said. “So, they’ll be performing on stage while their videos play on the screen behind them.”

Local electronic musician Matt Cee also is in the lineup.

But the real stars of the night will be the party-goers, whose sense of the surreal is limited only by their imaginations.

“It’s the one night when the place becomes an art piece,” Andreasen said. “It’s amazing to see the costumes people come up with. They’re so original, and a lot of people think about the surrealist theme when putting their costumes together.”

The idea is to dress as a character or object that could be found in a pop surrealist painting. The key word here is “could.”

“It doesn’t have to really be something that’s found in a painting, but it could be,” Andreasen said. “One of the most visually stunning aspects of the Soiree is the audience itself.”

The gallery will award cash and prizes to those judged to have the “most surreal” attire.

The event also will be the setting for the exhibit’s “Best in Show” award selected by California-based artist and juror N.C. Winters, who will speak at the gallery’s ARTiculate program at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27. The winning work will be featured in an upcoming issue of Juxtapose magazine, which focuses on pop surrealism artwork.

And it all begins at the carnival. Or at least the carnival-like tents constructed by Elevator Projects.

Enter if you dare.