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SURREALISM WHEN: 1924 to 1945 WHAT: As defined by the leader, Andre Breton: pure psychic automatism by which is intended to express…the true function of.

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Presentation on theme: "SURREALISM WHEN: 1924 to 1945 WHAT: As defined by the leader, Andre Breton: pure psychic automatism by which is intended to express…the true function of."— Presentation transcript:

1 SURREALISM WHEN: 1924 to 1945 WHAT: As defined by the leader, Andre Breton: pure psychic automatism by which is intended to express…the true function of thought…Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of association… in the *omnipotence of the dream. AIM: To use art as a means of revealing the hidden world of the unconscious. *omnipotence: The possession of complete, unlimited, or universal power and authority

2 Surrealism: - Officially *inaugurated in 1924 by French critic & poet, Andre Breton ( ) with the publication of his 1st Surrealist Manifesto. - An appeal for the freeing of the imaginative life from arbitrary limitations imposed upon it by reason & social order. - For Breton, the imaginative life embraced the total psychic experience of the unconscious as revealed by Freud. He felt that such could be achieved by techniques of automatic writing. - Became an international art movement in the 1930s. * inaugurated: a formal ceremony to open or mark the beginning of something

3 Definition of Surrealism according to Breton: SURREALISM, n. Pure psychic automatism, by which we propose to express, verbally, in writing, or by any other means, the real process of thought. The dictation of thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason and outside any aesthetic or moral *preoccupations. Dream vs reality *preoccupations: constant thought about or persistent interest in something

4 Intention of the Surrealists: - To discover & explore the world of psychic experience as revealed by psychoanalytic research, especially that of Freud. - To bring together into a single composition aspects of outer & inner reality, in much the same way that seemingly unrelated fragments of life combine in the vivid world of dreams. - Projection in visible form of this new conception required new techniques of pictorial construction. - A new interest in subject matter, where what is portrayed may not be logically symbolic/ meaningful is the most important contribution of Surrealists to modern painting.

5 Influences on Surrealism: - Hallucinatory writings of 19th century poets, stemming from Symbolist fascination with the occult. - Sigmund Freuds theories of psychoanalysis. His research into the significance of dreams & power of the unconscious mind. Stressed the value of memories and experiences buried in the unconscious, and the importance of dreams and free association as ways of reaching them. - Ideas of the Dadaists where they acknowledged the supremacy of irrational association and imaginative insight. An anti-art movement that privileged nonsense. - Metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico.

6 Song of Love, 1914 Oil on canvas, 73 x 59.1 cm - Italian painter - Produced his first enigma pictures in Known for paintings of figures dreaming in deserted city squares where mood of intense and mysterious melancholy prevailed. Founded Metaphysical Painting that aims to: Present an alternative reality that could communicate with the unconscious by dislocating objects from the real world and presenting them in incongruous/absurd relationships that seemed to defy logic. Giorgio de Chirico

7 Disquieting Muses, 1918 Oil on canvas, cm x 66 cm Presence of intense, vibrant colours and hallucinatory forms set in a weird and silent landscape. Nostalgia of the Infinite, 1913 Oil on canvas, cm x 64.8 cm

8 Techniques/Strategies - Automatic drawing By freeing artists from the normal association of pictorial ideas, they sought to create according to the irrational dictates of the subconscious mind and vision. - Decalcomania Method where watercolour paints were pressed between two sheets of paper. -Frottage Textural rubbings, method used extensively by Max Ernst. - Coulage Pouring instead of brushing paints on canvas. - Exquisite corpse (Concealed drawing) SURREALISM

9 2 branches Organic Surrealism Super-Realism (Surrealism) * Pursued Automatism -- dictation of thought without control of the mind (free association) * Invented unorthodox spontaneous techniques as a means to eliminate conscious control and to express the workings of the unconscious mind. * Results: Close to abstraction, although some degree of imagery is normally present. * Representatives: - Joan Miro, Andre Masson & Matta * Interest in dreams. * Present in meticulous detail, recognizable scenes and objects, that are taken out of natural context, distorted and combined in fantastic ways. * Results: Figurative, precise delineation of bizarre, dislocated imagery. * Representatives: - Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Yves Tanguy, Rene Magritte SURREALISM

10 Realistic Representation Rene Magritte

11 To be a surrealist means barring from your mind all remembrance of what you have seen, and being always on the lookout for what has never been. ~ Rene Magritte

12 Enduring Understanding Students will understand … …why artists use realistic representations as a means to express their ideas and concepts.

13 Overarching 1) What is reality? 2) How can artworks be a reflection of life? Topical 1)What is the subconscious? 2) How might our everyday lives influence the subconscious? 3) What is a paradox? 4) How does a paradox in a painting lead us to think about reality? Essential Questions

14 5W1H Rene Magritte When Where Belgium/ France Which Surrealism What Everyday objects in unusual contexts Symbolic person/s related to his past Why Expose psychological truth How Paintings

15 RENE MAGRITTE Belgian painter, one of the leading Surrealists. Blunt, matter-of-fact quality of his technique emphasised the *hallucinatory nature of his imagery, which relied on *incongruous juxtapositions of various kinds. Certain imageries like the figure in bowler hat, faces wrapped in cloth etc were often repeated in his paintings. Early Influences: Began as a commercial artist designing wall paper and fashion ads, was able to use his mastery of realism to defy logic in his Surrealist work. 1925: Influenced by de Chirico & Max Ernst. 1926: Painted his first Surrealist works (E.g. The Menaced Assassin) WHO *hallucinatory: relating to or involving the belief that something is being seen, heard when it is not there *incongruous: unsuitable, strange, or out of place in a particular setting or context.

16 The Difficult Crossing 1926, Oil on canvas, 80 x 65 cm One of Magrittes earlier paintings where Chiricos influence can be seen. Interior of a room presenting a strange setting: billowing curtain hang from middle of room, planks of wood leaning against the walls. Storm in the background could be either a painting or a real scene outside the window -- a confusion of the boundaries between inner and outer space typical of Magrittes future works. Bird in the grasp of the plaster hand, the table leg changing into a human leg and column with an eye are examples of strange juxtapositions which will see more refinement in his subsequent works.

17 Keywords/phrases Surrealism Paradox/ Juxtaposition Absurd relationships Ambiguous/ Mysterious Tap on the subconscious


19 Key Dates 1898: Born in Belgium 1912: Death of his mother (committed suicide by drowning) 1916 – 18: Studied in Royal Academy of Arts in Brussels & became wallpaper designer and commercial artist 1919: Became interested in Futurism 1922: Marries Georgette Berger. Wife was a model in many of his paintings 1926: First Surrealist works. Magritte played an important role in the foundation of the primarily literary Belgian Surrealist group. mid-1920s: Magritte created standardised human types, favouring especially the man in the bowler hat.

20 Key Dates 1927: Went to live in France for 3 years and participated in the French Surrealists activities. Did his first one- man show which marked his emergence as a Surrealist artist. 1943: Making use of a parody of Impressionism with lighter colours, while maintaining the Surrealist character of the imagery. 1956: Made a number of brief and often comical Surrealist films. 1967: Died of cancer

21 When The social and historical context which affects the artist and his works

22 When 1870s: Industrialisation of France beginning of technology such as electricity and airplanes. 1914: World War I World War I scattered the writers and artists who had been based in Paris, and while away from Paris many involved themselves in the Dada movement. 1917: Dada Movement Dadaists believed that excessive rational thought and bourgeois values had brought the terrifying conflict upon the world 1939: World War I - Created havoc and disrupted almost all intellectual and artistic production - Many important artists fled to North America, and relative safety in the United States.

23 Where Belgium France

24 Where Belgium (Hainaut) He was born in the province of Hainaut The grayness in Hainaut is prominent in Magrittes paintings which also contributes to their air of mystery –Hainaut was nicknamed Black Country due to the pollution from heavy industries that constantly covered the area in black soot

25 Where France Breton joined in the Dada activities and also started the literary journal Littérature along with Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault. They began experimenting with automatic writing spontaneously writing without censoring their thoughts and published the "automatic" writings, as well as accounts of dreams, in Littérature. 1924: The first Surrealist Manifesto was established. 1927: Magritte moved to Paris.

26 Which Surrealism

27 1917: The word surrealist first appeared. Originally started by poets and writers in France. noun, pure psychic automatism, intended to express the true function of thought. Absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations (Waldberg, Surrealism, 1997). Free flow of associations: Alluding to the imaginary, to dreams, to the unconscious and to chance. Which

28 What Subject matter Themes Exposing psychological truth Images of subconscious/paradoxes

29 What Rene Magrittes Subject Matters Ordinary mundane objects – apple, cloud/sky, bird, etc. Bowler-hatted figures –alter-egos for his middle-class persona –symbolic of the everyday gentleman in Europe in the early 1900s

30 The Large Family, 1963 Rene Magritte Oil on canvas, 100 x 81 cm

31 Golconde by René Magritte, 1953 Oil on canvas, 81 x 100 cm

32 What Picture in a Picture –A painting of reality on an easel/window placed strategically in front of a scene/real world –Blur the boundary between painting and reality –A pun on Renaissance paintings which are supposedly windows opening on to reality Veiled/averted faces –Depict the detachment between people and the world or among people themselves

33 The Human Condition, 1933 Oil on canvas, 100 x 81 cm Magritte had this to say of his 1933 work: In front of a window seen from inside a room, I placed a painting representing exactly that portion of the landscape covered by the painting. Thus, the tree in the picture hid the tree behind it, outside the room. For the spectator, it was both inside the room within the painting and outside in the real landscape.

34 The Human Condition,1935 Oil on canvas, 100 x 81 cm

35 The Lovers by René Magritte, Oil on canvas, 54 x 73.4 cm

36 The Lovers by René Magritte, Oil on canvas, 54 x 73 cm

37 The son of man, 1964 Oil on canvas.

38 Themes Exposing psychological truth Surrealism as a visual movement had found a method: to expose psychological truth by stripping ordinary objects of their normal significance. To create a compelling images that was beyond ordinary formal organisation, in order to evoke empathy from the viewer. What

39 The False Mirror by René Magritte Oil on canvas, 54 x 80.9 cm

40 What Images of subconscious/paradoxes Magrittes work often shows a *juxtaposition of ordinary/mundane objects in an unusual context - giving new meanings to familiar things. Rendering objects in establishing a connection between the conscious and the subconscious world. Paradox: The representational use of objects as something other than what they seem, is illustrated in his painting, The Treachery of Images. *juxtaposition: means placing things side-by-side. In art this usually is done with the intention of bringing out a specific quality or creating an effect, particularly when two contrasting or opposing elements are used. The viewer's attention is drawn to the similarities or differences between the elements.

41 The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe) by René Magritte, Oil on canvas, 63.5 cm x cm Los Angeles County Museum of Art

42 Voice of Space (La Voix des airs) by Rene Magritte, 1931, Oil on canvas, 72.7 x 54.2 cm Influenced by Giorgio de Chirico, René Magritte sought to strip objects of their usual functions and meanings in order to convey an irrationally compelling image. In Voice of Space (of which three other oil versions exist), the bells float in the air; elsewhere they occupy human bodies or replace blossoms on bushes. By distorting the scale, weight, and use of an ordinary object and inserting it into a variety of unaccustomed contexts, Magritte confers on that object a fetishistic intensity. He has written of the jingle bell, a motif that recurs often in his work: I caused the iron bells hanging from the necks of our admirable horses to sprout like dangerous plants at the edge of an abyss. The disturbing impact of the bells presented in an unfamiliar setting is intensified by the cool academic precision with which they and their environment are painted. The dainty slice of landscape could be the backdrop of an early Renaissance painting, while the bells themselves, in their rotund and glowing monumentality, impart a mysterious resonance.

43 What Magritte's work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The representational use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in his painting, The Treachery of Images (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store advertisement. Magritte painted below the pipe "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe"), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. It does not "satisfy emotionally. When Magritte once was asked about this image, he replied that of course it was not a pipe, just try to fill it with tobacco.

44 The Listening Room, 1952 by René Magritte Oil on canvas, 45 x 54.7 cm

45 What Magritte used the same approach in a painting of an apple: he painted the fruit realistically and then used an internal caption or framing device to deny that the item was an apple. In these "Ceci n'est pas" works, Magritte points out that no matter how closely, through realism-art, we come to depicting an item accurately, we never do catch the item itself.

46 Personal Values by René Magritte, 1952 Oil on canvas, cm x cm

47 Empire of Light by René Magritte, , Oil on canvas, x cm In Empire of Light, a dark, nocturnal street scene is set against a pastel-blue, light- drenched sky spotted with fluffy cumulus clouds. With no fantastic element other than the single paradoxical combination of day and night, René Magritte upsets a fundamental organizing premise of life. Sunlight, ordinarily the source of clarity, here causes the confusion and unease traditionally associated with darkness. The luminosity of the sky becomes unsettling, making the empty darkness below even more impenetrable than it would seem in a normal context. The bizarre subject is treated in an impersonal, precise style, typical of *veristic Surrealist painting and preferred by Magritte since the mid-1920s. *veristic: almost real, truth

48 Empire of Light II, by René Magritte, 1950 Oil on canvas, 78.8 cm x 91.1 cm. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

49 Carte Blanche, 1965 Oil on canvas. Visible things can be invisible. If somebody rides a horse through a wood, at first one sees them and then not, yet no one knows that they are there. In Carte Blanche, the rider is hiding the trees, and the trees are hiding her. However, the powers of thought grasp both the visible and the invisible - and I make use of the painting to render visible thoughts. - Rene Magritte

50 The Door to Freedom by René Magritte, 1936 Oil on canvas, 80 x 60 cm

51 Why Artist Intention/Philosophy Influences

52 His philosophy Art is not the thing it depicts, but merely its image His Intention To abolish our perception of the familiar To subvert our habits To make us question the nature of accepted reality Painting was not meant to express ideas or emotion but should question the visible world To confront the tension between the mere representation of objects and art making a statement independent of any object Magritte defined the meaning of Surrealism: The term surrealism gives rise to confusion, and the term Realism is not suitable for the direct apprehension of reality. Surrealism is the direct knowledge of reality: reality is absolute, and unrelated to the various ways of interpreting it. Why

53 Influences Theory of dreams Dreams act as the guardian of sleep Protect sleeper from reacting to external and internal stimuli Hence dreams are disguised with symbols Stressed importance of memories buried in the unconscious and dreams

54 Why Influences- André Breton Refer to the Manifesto of Surrealism

55 How Techniques/Medium

56 How Realistic representation –Oil on canvas Veristic –to depict meticulously a world analogous to the dream world –to create a connection between abstract and real material forms –transform objects from the real world in their paintings

57 How Techniques De-contextualize ordinary objects to take on different roles Merge two objects together in transformation Scale of objects are dramatically enlarged or reduced Create incongruence through bizarre images Replacing parts of objects with other unrelated objects

58 How? - Render mundane subject- matter in startlingly imaginative juxtapositions, dislocating space, time and the viewer's mental balance. - Painted in a scrupulously precise technique where subject matters are rendered realistically. Yet despite the use of realism, he presented viewers with problems of paradox, questioning the nature of our perception. Time Transfixed, 1939 Oil on canvas, 146 x 97 cm

59 How - Magritte believed that a viewer could be released from the banality of her perceived reality by viewing that reality in a disrupted context. - His works evoke a sense of mystery without providing any plausible resolution. - The works resist superficial interpretation and in ones failed attempt to master the work (solve the mystery/know the unknowable), one is taken out of his/her comfort zone and feels displaced. The Red Model, 1934 Oil on canvas, 183 x 136 cm

60 Intentions of his works: - Magritte undertook an analysis of reality but unlike the other Surrealist artists of his time, he was not interested in exploring the unconscious. Rather, he aimed to achieve the uncanny through revealing strangeness in the familiar. - Analysis of pictorial language, the relationship between various juxtaposed man-made and natural objects, and also between words and images. Empire of Light, , Oil on canvas, Oil on canvas, x cm Peggy Guggenheim Collection

61 Treason of images (This is not a pipe), 1929 On a oil painting, wrote in large letters this is not a pipe, which, of course, it isnt. It is a picture of a pipe, but as a picture, an image, its reality is different from a pipes. The False Mirror, 1928 The world we know is perceived through our eyes and the sense of sight is one often deemed most important. The title, however, suggests that the physical appearance of things could be an illusion, presenting a false perception of reality.

62 The Human Condition 1934, Oil on canvas 100 x 81 cm What are some ideas Magritte wanted to present in this painting? - Painting within a painting - Questioning the external reality, is the painting before us, any more real than what is outside the window which is also a mere image?

63 Personal values, 1952 Supposedly an interior of a room with furnishings but with clouds in the background, again suggesting ambiguity. Reflection reveals a window out of which seems to be a plain coloured wall. Common objects, e.g. comb, brush and glass, are enlarged beyond their normal scale.

64 References Bolton, L. ( 2003) Artists in Profile- Surrealism. Heinemann: UK. Preview Guide for Parents and Teachers to Childsplays Production of This is Not a Pipe Dream, by Barry Kornhauser Putting God in a Frame: The Art of Rene Magritte as Religious Encounter Paquet, Marcel (2006) Magritte. Taschen: US Eyecon Art Guggenheim Museum - online/show-full/piece/?search=René%20Magritte&page=1&f=People&cr=1 online/show-full/piece/?search=René%20Magritte&page=1&f=People&cr=1

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