Friday, May 16, 2014

Surrealism

Warning: image-heavy post.

The Castle of the Pyrenees - Rene Magritte

The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.
-Rene Magritte

Archeological Reminiscence Millet's Angelus - Salvador Dali
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Swans Reflecting Elephants - Salvador Dali
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Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. The aim was to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality." Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself.

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Freud's work with free association, dream analysis, and the unconscious was of utmost importance to the Surrealists in developing methods to liberate imagination. They embraced idiosyncrasy, while rejecting the idea of an underlying madness. Later, Salvador DalĂ­ explained it as: "There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad."

Beside the use of dream analysis, they emphasized that "one could combine inside the same frame, elements not normally found together to produce illogical and startling effects."

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The group aimed to revolutionize human experience, in its personal, cultural, social, and political aspects. They wanted to free people from false rationality, and restrictive customs and structures.
-"Surrealism", Wikipedia


The Domain of Arnheim - Rene Magritte
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Alchemy or the Useless Science - Remedios Varo
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Companions of Fear - Rene Magritte
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Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.
-Salvador Dali
My Friend Agustin Lazo - Remedios Varo
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The Lost Jockey - Rene Magritte
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Plant Architecture - Remedios Varo
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The universe outside of us makes tons of sense. The universe follows all kinds of elegant rules. Planets travel around suns, moons travel around planets, the universe expands, matter assembles, plants and animals (and even other people) adapt both at the individual level and over the course of millions of years, and all of those things happen for intricate, dependable reasons. The universe doesn't need us to make sense of it. It makes sense whether we understand it or not. But the self? The self is not intuitive. The self confounds. The self keeps drinking coffee until its fingers shake, rewards itself for going to the gym by smoking a cigarette, falls in love with people who treat it poorly, treats poorly those who love it, wakes up at 3 o’clock in the morning for no apparent reason and fails to go back to sleep, harbors fears of heights, water, insects, clowns, babies, and the sound that toilets make when you flush them, and (most confounding of all) experiences a series of senseless narratives after it goes to sleep

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The distinction here between the human species and the individual self deserves emphasis. The Surrealists weren't as concerned with the human condition as they were with the individual condition. When Rene Magritte wrote, “The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown,” he wasn't ruminating on the objective neurological truths of the mind, but on the subjective experience of having a mind. The experience of being yourself is an endless mystery, and an endless absurdity.

The Enigma of the Arrival and the Afternoon - Giorgio de Chirico
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Punching Ball or the Immortality of Buonarroti - Max Ernst
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The man who cannot visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.
-Andre Breton

Allegory of Winter - Remedios Varo
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The Gray Forest - Max Ernst
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Perhaps the imagination is on the verge of recovering its rights. If the depths of our minds conceal strange forces capable of augmenting or conquering those on the surface, it is in our greatest interest to capture them; first to capture them and later to submit them, should the occasion arise, to the control of reason.

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When the time comes when we can submit the dream to a methodical examination, when by methods yet to be determined we succeed in realizing the dream in its entirety (and that implies a memory discipline measurable in generations, but we can still begin by recording salient facts), when the dream's curve is developed with an unequalled breadth and regularity, then we can hope that mysteries which are not really mysteries will give way to the great Mystery. I believe in the future resolution of these two states - outwardly so contradictory - which are dream and reality, into a sort of absolute reality, a surreality, so to speak, I am aiming for its conquest, certain that I myself shall not attain it, but too indifferent to my death not to calculate the joys of such possession.

They say that not long ago, just before he went to sleep, Saint-Pol-Roux placed a placard on the door of his manor at Camaret which read: THE POET WORKS.

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SURREALISM, noun, masc., Pure psychic automatism by which it is intended to express, either verbally or in writing, the true function of thought. Thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations.

ENCYCL. Philos. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of association heretofore neglected, in the omnipotence of the dream, and in the disinterested play of thought. It leads to the permanent destruction of all other psychic mechanisms and to its substitution for them in the solution of the principal problems of life.
Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus - Salvador Dali
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Elephants - Salvador Dali
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I'll Pass Them Apart - Remedios Varo
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Before he goes into the water, a diver cannot know what he will bring back.
-Max Ernst

Breaking Off - Remedios Varo

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