“Abstract art seeks to break away from traditional representation of physical objects. It explores the relationships of forms and colours, whereas more traditional art represents the world in recognizable images.” In abstract art, the artist uses a style of shapes, forms, lines and colours to interpret a subject without actually providing the viewer with recognisable images or symbols. Artists have always found new and different ways to illustrate their world views and thoughts to the audience and viewers. Artists found much inspiration through events that allowed them to express their feelings through a variety of artworks and techniques. Such influences were The Great Depression of the 1930’s and the commencement of the Second World War. Artists were able to express their emotion, strengths, weaknesses and spiritual beliefs. The examining of an artist’s concepts and making of an artwork through the influences of their economy state, media and other artists is referred to as the artists practice. Abstract art not only mentally challenges the audience but emotionally challenges their feelings and thoughts towards the artwork. When viewing abstract art it is important to let go of what is meant to be shown in the artwork and consider what the viewer’s response is towards the artwork. There is a great diversity in Abstract art and can be as simples as plain colours to unusual shapes and designs. There are many classifications of abstract art such as Surrealism, Cubism, and Neoplasticism.
Surrealism is a movement which started in 1924 by the critic Andre Breton. ‘Sur’ means beyond- surrealism (beyond realism). Surrealism reached it fame peak around 1945 but still continued to be an art form until 1960’s. Surrealist artists were interested in the power of the mind and its ability. They developed a way of automatic writing and drawing which was done outside of conscious control and which illustrated unexpected and unusual images and ideas. This became known as Automatism. For Andre Breton, the movement was a cultural revolution but like others its influence was limited. Salvador Dali was famously recognised as an amazing surrealist painter. Dali sometimes referred to his paintings as "hand-painted dream photographs".
The Persistence of Time
“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” – Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali was a Spanish surrealist painter. One of Dali’s most well known paintings ‘The Persistence of Memory’ which was completed in 1931at the age of 27, is an artwork of surrealism of oil on canvas. There are two interpretations to this painting which audiences and critics assumed when the painting went on display; * The determination of memory meaning: the drooping pocket watches suggest the irrelevance of time during sleep. In other words, when we are asleep, or not conscious, the time does not persist, but memories do. * Another interpretation of this painting may be, through the use of symbolism, suggest Einstein's theory that time is relative and is not fixed. A major influence on his work was becoming engrossed in the works of Paris Surrealists who liked to paint from the subconscious mind, not necessarily with a definitive purpose in mind. A theme in ‘The Persistence of Memory’, which Dali has used before, is ants. They are drawn to the decaying of time, just like it is “rotting flesh”. By illustrating this, it suggesting that, despite the lack of time, things must come to an end somehow anyway. The painting lay nude with the image of a plain landscape one evening while Dali and his wife Gala entertained some guest with wine and cheese. Their guest, along with Gala, decided to go to the Cinema while Dali had chosen to stay home because he had a headache. Afterwards Dali fell asleep. Once he woke, Dali noted that Gala had not returned, he looked at the clock and felt that time was "moving slowly", he then noticed the cheese that was left on the table had melted. What happened next was an...