Surrealism Circa 1921 – 1940. " Beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissection table.“ - Lautréamont Les chants de Maldoror.
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"Beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella
on a dissection table.“
Les chants de Maldoror
The Surrealist Revolution (left)Photomontage for LaRévolution Surréaliste, nº 12, 1929by René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967), Enquête sur l'amour’ (Inquiry on Love)(bottom right) Surrealist group, Paris, 1930, L-R: Tristan Tzara, Paul Eluard, André Breton, Hans Arp, Salvador Dali, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, René Crevel, Man Ray
(left) The World in the Time of the Surrealists, Brussels, 1929"We are determined to make a Revolution." "We have joined the word surrealism to the word revolution solely to show the disinterested, detached and even entirely desperate character of this revolution." - André Breton
(right) Easter Island, Polynesia, ceremonial dance paddle (rapa) from André Breton’s collection of Oceanic art. It represents a highly stylized male figure with Janus-face head and phallic finial showing retracted foreskin.
Precursors to Surrealism: 19th Century Romanticism and Symbolism (left) Arnold Bocklin, The Isle of the Dead, 1880, oil on canvas, Symbolism (right) Francisco Goya, Saturn c. 1821-1823, Oil on plaster remounted on canvas, Romanticism
“Naturalist” or “Hand Painted Dream” SurrealismRené Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967) The Treachery of Images, 1928-29, oil on canvas, 23 x 31”, LACMA, Deconstruction
John Baldessari at 2007 exhibition he
designed: Treachery of Images: René
Magritte and Contemporary Art. LACMA
(left) Charles Ray (American, b. 1953), Fall '91, 1992, mixed media, 96 in. H(right) Robert Gober (American, b.1954), Untitled, 1989-92, mixed media
"The eye exists in its savage state. The marvels of the earth ... have as their sole witness the wild eye that traces all its colors back to the rainbow."
- André Breton
Surrealist magazine, earth ... have as their sole witness the wild eye that traces all its colors back to the rainbow." La Révolution Surréaliste [The Surrealist Revolution, 12 issues,1924-1929] was modeled on the conservative scientific magazine, La Nature. In a mock scientific manner, specimens of automatic writing and records of dreams were illustrated with photographs, mostly by the “machine-poet” Man Ray (American,1890-1976). The review succeeded in shocking everyone.
Man Ray earth ... have as their sole witness the wild eye that traces all its colors back to the rainbow." , Minotaur, 1933, for the Surrealist magazine, Minotaur. Collapses human and animal into a single (border) “impossible” category: bull-human, like the Greek mythical monster.
Man Ray earth ... have as their sole witness the wild eye that traces all its colors back to the rainbow." , Minotaur, 1933
erasing categories of sexuality
Brassai, Nudes, 1933
Brancusi, Torso, 1924 & 1926
“The frame announces the camera’s ability to find and isolate what we could call the world’s constant writing of erotic symbols, its ceaseless automatism.”
Surrealist defamiliarization becomes “Formless (Informe)” of the subconscious
and the dream
AUTOMATONS and mannequins: earth ... have as their sole witness the wild eye that traces all its colors back to the rainbow." Hans Bellmer (Polish, 1902-75), La Poupée (Doll), 1935-49, hand colored gelatin silver print(right) Bellmer, La Poupée, 1935-36: (center) La Poupée), 1934; gelatin silver prints“Dolls” are made of wood, metal, papier-mâché and dressed with wigs, clothing, etc. or not
The art object is not the sculpture; it is the photograph.
SURREALIST PHOTOGRAPHY: MANNIQUINS AND “DISTORTIONS” earth ... have as their sole witness the wild eye that traces all its colors back to the rainbow." Eugène Atget (French 1857-1927), Boulevard de Strasbourg, Corsets, 1912, albumen silver printAndré Kertész (Hungarian, 1894-1985), Distortion #4, 1933, gelatin silver print
Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali earth ... have as their sole witness the wild eye that traces all its colors back to the rainbow." , frames from Un Chien Andalou (France) An Andalusian Dog, Surrealist film, 1928. Eyes, insects, metamorphosis, erotics, madness of the dream & subconscious
METAMOPHOSIS OF FORM earth ... have as their sole witness the wild eye that traces all its colors back to the rainbow." Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904-89) interpreted photograph, Paranoic Face, 1931 from Le Surrealisme au Service de la Revolution, no.3. “voluntary hallucination" = the "critical paranoic method"(right) Dali, Apparition of a face and a Fruit Dish, 1930
I think the time is rapidly coming when it will be possible…to systematize confusion thanks to a paranoiac and active process of thought, and so assist in discrediting completely the world of reality.”
"Repugnance is the sentry standing right near the door to those things
that we desire most.” - Salvador Dali
“The transcription of reveries.” Hand-painted dream photographs. Dali’s morphological aesthetics of the soft and hard and the search for form: “un-form” (Informe)
Cape Creus, Catalonia
ANXIOUS VISIONS for Anxious Times – social contexts of Surrealist imagery(left) SalvadorDali, Soft Construction with Boiled Beans: Premonitions of Civil War, 1936, oil on canvas, 39 x 39” (Spanish Civil War), Surrealism (right) compare FranciscoGoya, 1821 (Napoleonic wars in Spain), Romanticism
AUTOMATISM Surrealist imagery: Surrealist “exquisite corpse” drawings (left) by Yves Tanguy, Man Ray, Max Morise, Joan Miró, c. 1926.(right) “exquisite corpse” by Victor Brauner, André Breton, Jacques Hérold and Yves Tanguy, 1935.
AUTOMATISM and abstract biomorphic Surrealism Surrealist imageryAndré Masson (French, 1896-1987) Quare de vulva exuxiste me (Why dids’t thou bring me forth from the womb?), 1923, pen & ink on paper(right) Battle of Fishes, 1926, sand, gesso, oil, pencil, and charcoal on canvas, 14 x 28,
Joan Miró Surrealist imagery (Spanish,1893-1983), Carnival of Harlequin, 1924-5, oil on canvas, 26 x 36” Response to Cubism: "I will break their guitar."
BIOMORPHISM + POPULAR CULTURE Surrealist imageryJoan Mirò, Painting, 1933, oil on canvas, 5’8” x 6’5” MoMA, NYC (right) source collage of clippings from equipment catalogues
DISJUNCTION / READYMADE /UNCANNY OBJECT Surrealist imagery(left) Joan Miró, Object, assemblage: stuffed parrot on wood perch, stuffed silk stocking with velvet garter and doll’s paper shoe suspended in hollow wood frame, derby hat, hanging cork ball, celluloid fish, and engraved map, 32 x 12 x 10,” 1936(right) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972] ) Medici Boy, 1942-52. mixed media assemblage
(left) Exhibition of Surrealist Objects, Paris, 1936, mock-scientific display(right) Marcel Duchamp, Surrealist Exhibition / Installation, 16 Miles of String, Peggy Guggenheim Gallery, NYC, 1942 – the labyrinth of the Minotaur
SURREALISM . DIASPORIC INDIGENISM / “MAGIC REALISM” mock-scientific displayWilfredo Lam (Cuban, 1902-82), The Jungle, 1943, gouache on paper mounted on canvas, 7’10” x 7’6”, MoMA NYCSanterìa: blend of African and Catholic religious practices(left) Wilfredo Lam in his Havana studio, 1947
Imogen Cunningham, Frida
Kahlo in San Francisco, 1931
Aztec goddess Tlazolteotl in mock-scientific display
the act of giving birth to a man.
Kahlo, My Birth, 1932, painted after a miscarriage
coinciding with the death of the artist’s mother
“How I imagined I was born.” (a double death?)
Leonora Carrington mock-scientific display(British-born Mexican Surrealist Painter and Writer, born in 1917) Self-Portrait (The White Horse Inn), 1936-7, oil on canvas, 25 x 32”
Dorothea Tanning mock-scientific display (American, 1910 - ) (left) Ein klein nachtmusik "A little night music," 1946(right) Birthday, 1942, oil on canvas, 40.25 x 25.5 inches (center, below) with husband Max Ernst, Sedona, Arizona, 1948
Alberto Giacometti mock-scientific display(Swiss, 1901-66), Suspended Ball, 1930-31 (1965 reconstruction), plaster and metal, 24 x 14 x 13”(right) Constantin Brancusi, Torse (wood 1922; bronze 1926)
Sexual “nudes” undoing
categories of “masculine”
and “feminine” desire
1932 sketch indicates
Details of Giacometti’s mock-scientific displayThe Palace at 4 A.M.
THE END OF THE AGE OF EUROPE mock-scientific displayAND EMERGENCE OF NEW YORK SCHOOL(left) Hitler occupies Paris, 1940Artists in the Artists in Exile show at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, March, 1942. Left to right, first row: Matta, Ossip Zadkine, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger; second row: André Breton, Piet Mondrian, André Masson, Amédée Ozenfant, Jacques Lipchitz, Pavel Tchelitchew, Kurt Seligmann, Eugene Berman
END OF THE AGE OF EUROPE AND EMERGENCE OF NEW YORK SCHOOL mock-scientific displayMax Ernst, Europe After the Rain, 1940-42, oil on canvas, 21 x 58,” automatist technique of decalcomania, which involves pressing paint between two surfaces