Surrealism Essay

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History of Design

Dada & Surrealism Essay

Contents Page

Introduction to Essay3

The Surrealism Movement3, 4

Figure 14, 5

Figure 25, 6

Figure 3 6

Conclusion7

List of illustration8-10

List of references12, 13

Surrealism and Contemporary Graphic Design

The intention of my essay is to discuss the influence of 20th century surrealism on contemporary graphic design by a comparison of both a formal and contextual analysis of each. The formal and contextual analysis will be on two historical Surrealist arts and one contemporary Graphic design. The two historical Surrealist examples I will use are ‘Construction with Boiled Beans’ and ‘Temptation of St Anthony’ both from famous surrealist artist Salvador Dali and the contemporary Graphic design piece is ‘AE Investimentos: Strange’ by Leo Burnett. The similarities and resemblances between them will allow us to deduce the magnitude of the influence that Surrealism has on contemporary Graphic design. Key terms essential to comprehend this essay is Juxtaposition, fantasy, movement and Dadaism. Juxtaposition in art typically refers to placing together objects which are not usually related or placed together (Skull, 1988: 112), fantasy is an expression of a person’s deep inner thoughts and feelings, often in a strange and unusual or fantastic manner, and sometimes revealing dreams or the unconscious (Skull, 1988:78 & 79), a movement in Art and Design refers to a group of people who are moved (motivated or driven) to take the same action, who have the same aims and produce artistic works which identify them as members of the group (Skull, 1988:142) and Dadaism is a movement in Art following the First World War (1914-1918) at which time there was much political, social and psychological unrest, which led many people to have an anti-art, anti-everything attitude. Artists expressed their outrage against the way the world was going by doing absurd things. The Dadaists main characteristic was to juxtapose unpredicted images to surprise and shock (Skull, 1988: 52). The essay will now explore the history and origin of the Surrealist Movement.

The surrealist movement originated as a literary movement that experimented with a new mode of phrase called automatic writing, or automatism, which sought to release the unrestrained imagination of the subconscious (Conley, 2003:5). It was one of the most renowned movements of the twentieth century. Surrealism derives from the French word ‘surreal’ which means ‘going beyond the real’ or extending the limits of so-called reality (Levy, 1997:7). Surrealism was a term first used by the Poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire in 1917. The Movement however was founded and put into action by the poet Andre’ Breton in 1924 through his publication of Manifesto of Surrealism making it an international intellectual and political movement (Met museum, 2004). Surrealist artists channeled their subconscious and dreams, they made an analysis of their dreams; and their works reflected images of total mind liberation. The Surrealist movement was greatly influenced by the increasing interest of Psychology and Psycho-analysis. Surrealist art was first exhibited in Paris in 1925 which showcased the works of Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Klee, Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso and was unlike what the world had ever seen before (Caws, 1991:3). The movement was also influenced by expressionism, cubism and even used some of the same techniques as the Dadaism movement. The movement had run its course by about 1966 (Kuenzli, 1996:7). The main characteristics of Surrealism are a fondness for juxtaposing things and ideas which are not linked or connected in any way producing astonishment, surprise and a startling effect. It portrays dreams and fantasies and explored the sub-conscious as strong source of creativity and inspiration and illustrated...
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