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
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
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).
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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