The purpose of this study is twofold: firstly, to analyse the manner in which surrealist art may correlate with a hysterical mode of representation; and secondly, to develop this understanding of the relation between hysterical representation and surrealism into an interpretative framework for the analysis of the contemporary artworks of the South African artist, Mary Sibande. I characterise hysteria as a mode of representation where repressed traumatic knowledge and repressed desire is articulated in an indirect and cryptic manner, by means of fantasy and through the register of the body. By undertaking a comparative analysis of hysteria and surrealism, I determine the various ways in which surrealism may coincide with and comprise a form of hysterical representation. I aim to demonstrate that surrealist artists do not only borrow from the iconography of hysteria, but that their artworks frequently emulate the structure of the hysterical symptom and that their portraits often reflect a hysterical form of subjectivity. In this study I therefore demonstrate, firstly, that hysterical representation may underlie the surrealist artwork inasmuch as such an artwork comprises an enigmatic and indirect representation of repressed traumatic impressions and desire, where repressed psychical content is articulated predominantly by means of fantasy and through the body; and, secondly, that this structure also underlies the artworks of Mary Sibande.