Surrealism and Salvador Dali

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English 102

Final Rough Draft

Surrealism and Salvador Dali

Surrealism is defined as an art style developed in the

1920's in Europe, characterized by using the subconscious

as a source of creativity to liberate pictural subjects and

ideas. Surrealist paintings often depict unexpected or

irrational objects in an atmosphere or fantasy , creating a

dreamlike scenario ( www.progressiveart.com 2004). The word

Surrealism was created in 1917 by the writer Guillaune

Apollinaire. He used it to describe two instances of

artistic innovation ( Bradley 6). In 1924, in the

Manifeste du Surrealisme which launched the surrealist

movement, the writer Andre Brenton and his friend Philippe

Soupault adopted the word,"baptised by the name of

Surrealism the new mode of expression which we had at our

disposal and which we wished to pass on to our friends."

Brenton adopted the word Surrealism to describe the

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literary and artistic practice of himself and his

"friends." Some examples of Surrealist art are; M.C.

Escher's "Drawing Hands," Salvador Dali's "The Persistence

of Memory," (1931) , and Salvador Dali's "Remorse." (1931)

One of Dali's more famous paintings, "The Persistence

of Memory," was first shown June 1931 at The Pierre Cole

Gallery in Paris. Essentially the soft watches demonstrate

that one aspect of the paranoiac critical method is it's

capacity to link objects to qualities normally associated

with other, completely different , elements .Dali painted

the setting first, a deserted landscape at Port Lligat

where he and Gala had bought a fisherman's hut the previous

summer. in the foreground the self-portrait motif reappears

in the form of a foetus abandoned on a beach. This refers

to Dali's professed memories of intrauterine life and

suggests the trauma of birth. A watch sagging across the

foetus and another hanging from a plinth evoke the feelings

of timelessness associated with the experience or pre-

birth. The title of the painting thus refers to prenatal

memories and it's subject is "the horrible traumatism of

birth by which we are expunged from paradise". The title

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also refers to Gala's response when Dali asked her whether

in three years time she would have forgotten this painting.

She replied "no one can forget it once he has seen it"(Dali 49).

Another popular Dali paintings from the 1930's

is "The Atavism of Dusk" .Sex, cannibalism and death were

linked in Dali's mind. By paranoiac association , precisely

these anxieties were inspired by Millet's painting

depicting the piety of two laborers. In The Atavism of Dusk

Dali expressed more explicitly this irrational significance

which he divined in The Angelus. The posture of the two

peasants is reproduced faithfully. The male stands to the

left , his hat concealing his sexual arousal, but his face

has been transformed into a skull, an image which invokes

the consequences of his fatal sexual encounter with the

female peasant standing at the right. The threat posed by

the woman is evident in the way she assumes the attitude of

a praying mantis. This alludes to the practice of the

female insect of the species devouring the male after

coition (Dali 63).

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Dali also created "The Wearing of Furniture-Nutrition"

in the 1930's. This painting represents a further variation

in the capacity of the paranoiac critical method to

"interpret"reality by establishing irrational connections

between disparate elements. Unlike Dali's image , in which

several elements may be recognized within a single

configuration, here the same configuration is repeated in

various parts of the canvas but with different visual

significance. As a result, associations are made between...
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