Surrealism lecture by wuyunqing


                         Circa 1921 – 1940

"Beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella
                   on a dissection table.“
                                              - Lautréamont
                                                Les chants de Maldoror
                             The Surrealist Revolution
         (left) Photomontage for La Révolution Surréaliste, nº 12, 1929 by
   René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967), Enquête sur l'amour’ (Inquiry on Love)
(bottom right) Surrealist group, Paris, 1930, L-R: Tristan Tzara, Paul Eluard, André
Breton, Hans Arp, Salvador Dali, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, René Crevel, Man Ray
         (left) The World in the Time of the Surrealists, Brussels, 1929

                   "We are determined to make a Revolution."
 "We have joined the word surrealism to the word revolution solely to show the
disinterested, detached and even entirely desperate character of this revolution."
                                                         - André Breton

      (right) Easter Island, Polynesia, ceremonial dance paddle
          (rapa) from André Breton’s collection of Oceanic art. It
          represents a highly stylized male figure with Janus-face
          head and phallic finial showing retracted foreskin.
Precursors to Surrealism: 19th Century Romanticism and Symbolism
(left) Arnold Bocklin, The Isle of the Dead, 1880, oil on canvas, Symbolism
(right) Francisco Goya, Saturn c. 1821-1823, Oil on plaster remounted on canvas,
Precursor to Surrealism: Giorgio de Chirico, (Greek-Italian,1888-1978)
(left) The Melancholy and Mystery of a Street, 1914, oil on canvas, 34 x 28”
                              Metaphysical School
        (right) The Great Metaphysician, 1917, oil on canvas, 41 x 27”
               influence on De Chirico of Arnold Bocklin (center)
New York Times 2007: “The Museo Carlo Bilotti is Rome’s newest cultural gem, with
extraordinary art housed in a fastidiously restored 16th-century marble palazzo smack in
the middle of Villa Borghese.” Bilotti, an Italian-American perfume (Old Spice) executive
from Palm Beach, Fla., left his collection, including 22 de Chirico paintings, to the city of
                “Naturalist” or “Hand Painted Dream” Surrealism
René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967) The Treachery of Images, 1928-29, oil on canvas,
                         23 x 31”, LACMA, Deconstruction
Magritte, The False Mirror, 1928, oil on canvas, 212 x 31”, MoMA NYC
Magritte, Les Valeurs personnelles (Personal Values), 1952, 31 1/2 in. x 39 3/8 in., oil on
canvas, SFMOMA

                                                   John Baldessari at 2007 exhibition he
                                                   designed: Treachery of Images: René
                                                   Magritte and Contemporary Art. LACMA
(left) Charles Ray (American, b. 1953), Fall '91, 1992, mixed media, 96 in. H
(right) Robert Gober (American, b.1954), Untitled, 1989-92, mixed media
(left) Robert Gober, Untitled, 1990, beeswax, human hair, pigment
(right) Magritte, The Rape, 1935, oil on canvas
"The eye exists in its savage state. The
marvels of the earth ... have as their sole
witness the wild eye that traces all its
colors back to the rainbow."

                        - André Breton
Surrealist magazine, La Révolution Surréaliste [The Surrealist Revolution, 12
issues, 1924-1929] was modeled on the conservative scientific magazine, La
Nature. In a mock scientific manner, specimens of automatic writing and
records of dreams were illustrated with photographs, mostly by the
“machine-poet” Man Ray (American,1890-1976). The review succeeded in
shocking everyone.
Man Ray, Minotaur, 1933, for the Surrealist magazine, Minotaur. Collapses human and
animal into a single (border) “impossible” category: bull-human, like the Greek mythical
                                    Man Ray, Minotaur, 1933
                       Surrealist “formlessness”:
                       erasing categories of sexuality

Brassai, Nudes, 1933
Phallus-female torso                 Brancusi, Torso, 1924 & 1926
                                 “The frame announces the
                                 camera’s ability to find and
                                 isolate what we could call
                                 the world’s constant writing
                                 of erotic symbols, its
                                 ceaseless automatism.”

Man Ray, Anatomies, c. 1930
phallus-neck (double entendre)
(left) Lee Miller (American, 1907-1977), Nude Bent Forward, Paris, 1931
(right) Dora Maar (French, 1907-1997), Le Pere Ubu, 1936

Surrealist defamiliarization becomes “Formless (Informe)” of the subconscious
and the dream
AUTOMATONS and mannequins:
Hans Bellmer (Polish, 1902-75), La Poupée (Doll), 1935-49, hand colored gelatin silver
(right) Bellmer, La Poupée, 1935-36: (center) La Poupée), 1934; gelatin silver prints
“Dolls” are made of wood, metal, papier-mâché and dressed with wigs, clothing, etc. or

 The art object is not the sculpture; it is the photograph.
Eugène Atget (French 1857-1927), Boulevard de Strasbourg, Corsets, 1912, albumen
                                  silver print
   André Kertész (Hungarian, 1894-1985), Distortion #4, 1933, gelatin silver print
Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali, frames from Un Chien Andalou (France) An Andalusian
                            Dog, Surrealist film, 1928.
    Eyes, insects, metamorphosis, erotics, madness of the dream & subconscious
                          METAMOPHOSIS OF FORM
Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904-89) interpreted photograph, Paranoic Face, 1931
           from Le Surrealisme au Service de la Revolution, no.3.
          “voluntary hallucination" = the "critical paranoic method"
            (right) Dali, Apparition of a face and a Fruit Dish, 1930

                                        I think the time is rapidly coming when
                                        it will be possible…to systematize
                                        confusion thanks to a paranoiac and
                                        active process of thought, and so
                                        assist in discrediting completely the
                                        world of reality.”
                                                                      - Dali
      Salvador Dali, The Lugubrious Game, 1929, oil on canvas

"Repugnance is the sentry standing right near the door to those things
that we desire most.”                             - Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory, 1931
      oil on canvas, 9 x 13,” MoMA NYC

“The transcription of reveries.” Hand-painted
dream photographs. Dali’s morphological aesthetics of
the soft and hard and the search for form: “un-form”
(Informe)                                               Cape Creus, Catalonia
     ANXIOUS VISIONS for Anxious Times – social contexts of Surrealist imagery
(left) Salvador Dali, Soft Construction with Boiled Beans: Premonitions of Civil War,
             1936, oil on canvas, 39 x 39” (Spanish Civil War), Surrealism
  (right) compare Francisco Goya, 1821 (Napoleonic wars in Spain), Romanticism
Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937, oil on canvas, 11’6” x 25’8”, Madrid
AUTOMATISM: Surrealist “exquisite corpse” drawings (left) by Yves Tanguy,
                  Man Ray, Max Morise, Joan Miró, c. 1926.
 (right) “exquisite corpse” by Victor Brauner, André Breton, Jacques Hérold
                           and Yves Tanguy, 1935.
                    AUTOMATISM and abstract biomorphic Surrealism
André Masson (French, 1896-1987) Quare de vulva exuxiste me (Why dids’t thou bring
                    me forth from the womb?), 1923, pen & ink on paper
(right) Battle of Fishes, 1926, sand, gesso, oil, pencil, and charcoal on canvas, 14 x 28,
Joan Miró (Spanish,1893-1983), Carnival of Harlequin, 1924-5, oil on canvas, 26 x 36”
                   Response to Cubism: "I will break their guitar."
Joan Mirò, Painting, 1933, oil on canvas, 5’8” x 6’5” MoMA, NYC
 (right) source collage of clippings from equipment catalogues
(left) Joan Miró, Object, assemblage: stuffed parrot on wood perch, stuffed silk stocking
   with velvet garter and doll’s paper shoe suspended in hollow wood frame, derby hat,
          hanging cork ball, celluloid fish, and engraved map, 32 x 12 x 10,” 1936
   (right) Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972] ) Medici Boy, 1942-52. mixed media
        (left) Exhibition of Surrealist Objects, Paris, 1936, mock-scientific display
(right) Marcel Duchamp, Surrealist Exhibition / Installation, 16 Miles of String, Peggy
              Guggenheim Gallery, NYC, 1942 – the labyrinth of the Minotaur
Wilfredo Lam (Cuban, 1902-82), The Jungle, 1943, gouache on paper mounted on
                        canvas, 7’10” x 7’6”, MoMA NYC
           Santerìa: blend of African and Catholic religious practices
                (left) Wilfredo Lam in his Havana studio, 1947
Matta (Roberto Matta Echaurren, Chilean, 1911-2002), Disasters of Mysticism, 1942
                             oil on canvas, 38 x 51”
Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954) (right) What the Water Yields Me, oil on canvas,1938

   Imogen Cunningham, Frida
   Kahlo in San Francisco, 1931
Kahlo, Self-Portrait on the Border Between Mexico and the United States
                          1932, oil on tin, 12 x 13”
Kahlo, Henry Ford Hospital, 1932, oil on metal, 12 x 15.5 in.
(compare left) Mexican ex-voto (retablo), oil on tin, 1878, 14" x 10"
                                                     Aztec goddess Tlazolteotl in
                                                     the act of giving birth to a man.
Kahlo, My Birth, 1932, painted after a miscarriage
coinciding with the death of the artist’s mother
“How I imagined I was born.” (a double death?)
Kahlo, Marxism Will Bring Health to the Sick, 1954.
One of the artist’s last paintings: an effort to create political art
Leonora Carrington (British-born Mexican Surrealist Painter and Writer, born in 1917)
        Self-Portrait (The White Horse Inn), 1936-7, oil on canvas, 25 x 32”
Dorothea Tanning (American, 1910 - )
(left) Ein klein nachtmusik "A little night music," 1946
(right) Birthday, 1942, oil on canvas, 40.25 x 25.5 inches
(center, below) with husband Max Ernst, Sedona, Arizona, 1948
Dorothea Tanning, Hôtel du Pavot, cloth and mixed materials, permanent installation,
                          Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2000
Alberto Giacometti (Swiss, 1901-66), Suspended Ball, 1930-31 (1965 reconstruction),
plaster and metal, 24 x 14 x 13”
(right) Constantin Brancusi, Torse (wood 1922; bronze 1926)

                                                  Sexual “nudes” undoing
                                                  categories of male female desire
Alberto Giacometti, Woman with Her Throat Cut (Femme égorgée), bronze, 8 x 34 x
                               25”, MoMA, NYC
Alberto Giacometti, Woman with Her Throat Cut (Femme égorgée), bronze, 8x34 x 25”,
                                  MoMA, NYC
Giacometti, The Palace at 4 a.m., 1932-3, construction in wood, glass, wire, and string,
                        25 x 28 x 16”, MoMA NYC (top right)

                                                             1932 sketch indicates
Details of Giacometti’s The Palace at 4 A.M.
                                      (left) Hitler occupies Paris, 1940
Photograph of the artists exhibiting in the Artists in Exile show at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York,
  March, 1942. Left to right, first row: Matta, Ossip Zadkine, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, Marc Chagall,
Fernand Léger; second row: André Breton, Piet Mondrian, André Masson, Amédée Ozenfant, Jacques
  Lipchitz, Pavel Tchelitchew, Kurt Seligmann, Eugene Berman. Photograph by George Platt Lynes
     Max Ernst, Europe After the Rain, 1940-42, oil on canvas, 21 x 58”
Nina Leen, photograph captioned “Irrasible Group of Advanced Artists,” printed in Life (15
January 1952), (top row) Willem de Kooning, Adoph Gottlieb, Ad Reinhardt, Hedda Stern;
(middle): Richard Pousette-Dart, William Baziotes, Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, Robert
     Motherwell, Bradley Walker tomlin; (bottom): Theodoros Stamos, Jimmy Ernst,
                     Barnett Newman, James Brooks, Mark Rothko
        (left top) André Masson (French, 1896–1987. In U.S.1941–45)
Pasiphaë, oil and tempera, 1943, and (left bottom) 1945, Pastel on paper, 27x 38“
              (right) Jackson Pollock (1912-56), Pasiphaë, oil, 1943

                                   Automatism and psycho-analytic theory

(left) Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-56),Going West, 1934-35, 15 x 20”, oil on bd;
   (right) Thomas Hart Benton (American Regionalist, 1889-1975) The Ballad of the
       Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley, oil on masonite, 42 x 53”, U of Kansas
          INFLUENCE OF MEXICAN MODERNISM on Abstract Expressionism
 (left) Pollock, Flame, oil on canvas, 1936; (center) David Siqueiros (Mexican, 1896-
1974), Echo of a Scream, 1937; (RIGHT) José Orozco (Mexican 1883-1949), The Epic
    of American Civilization: Modern Migration of the Spirit, fresco mural: 14th panel,
                               Dartmouth College, 1932-34
Pollock, Guardians of the Secret, 1943, oil on canvas, 4’ X6’3”, SFMoMA
Pollock, Mural, oil on canvas, c.20 ft wide, 1943
Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), oil, enamel, and aluminum on canvas,
                   7’4” x 9’11”, National Gallery, Washington D.C.
       Photographs of Pollock painting by Hans Namuth, 1950 = Action Painting
"My opinion is that new needs need new techniques. And the modern artists have found
       new ways and new means of making their statements." - Jackson Pollock
          Willem de Kooning (Dutch-American, 1904-1997)
(left) drawing Woman 1 New York, 1950; (right) Woman 1, 1950-52
      Willem de Kooning, Pink Angels, c. 1945, oil and charcoal on canvas
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus, 1618
De Kooning, Gotham News, 1955, oil on canvas, 69 x 79"
De Kooning in studio painting, 1970s – “Action Painting”
Elaine de Kooning (American, 1918-1989), photoportrait, 1946
 Elaine de Kooning, Harold Rosenberg #3, 1956, 6’8” x 4’10”
Lee Krasner (American, 1908 -1984) in New York studio, mid-1930s
           Blue Painting, 1946, oil on canvas, 28 x 36”
                         Mark Rothko (Russian-American 1903 -70)
                   (left) Encantation, 1944, mixed media/paper, 24 x 30”
(right) Multiform 2 1948, oil on canvas, one of a small group of untitled works collectively
     known as 'Multiforms' that Rothko painted during the years 1947-49 immediately
                  preceding the mature works for which he is best known.
              Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1949, oil on canvas, 6’9” x 5’6”
"The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I
                           had when I painted them."
          Rothko, White and Greens in Blue, 1957, Oil on canvas, 8’4” x 6’10”

“It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as
               long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism.
                  There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing.”
The Rothko Chapel, Houston, Texas, 1965-66, opened in 1971
      “I wanted to paint both the finite and the infinite.”
          “I was always looking for something more.”

                       Mark Rothko
    Isamu Noguchi (Japanese-American 1904-88) (left) Kouros. 1944-45; (center)
Constantin Brancusi, Bird in Space, 1925; (right) Herodiade, stage set designed by Isamu
                            Noguchi for Martha Graham, 1944.
(left top) Buson, by Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988). Japan, Kita Kamakura, 1952. Unglazed
       Karatsu stoneware, 8-1/4 x 6-1/2 x 3-3/8”. (right) Great Rock of Inner Seeking
   1974, basalt, H:127 7/8” with stone commemorating poet Buson near Osaka Japan;
 (below left) Noguchi Garden Museum, Long Island City with traditional garden in Japan.
Louise Bourgeois (French-American, b.1911), (left to right) Quarantania, 1947-53,
   painted wood on wood base, 62” high; photoportrait of Bourgeois by Robert
             Mapplethorpe, 1982; Cumul I, 1968, marble, 22 x 48”;
David Smith (American, 1906-65), Bombing Civilian Populations, 1939, cast bronze,10 x
 10 7/8”; (right) Cover Exhibition Catalogue: "Medals for Dishonor by David Smith,“1940
David Smith, Hudson River Landscape,1951, Welded painted steel and stainless steel,
50 x 75 x 17”, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, photograph by David Smith
(left to right) Julio Gonzalez (Spanish, 1876-1942) Monsieur Cactus I, 1939, bronze, 26”
high; Picasso, Head of a Woman, 1929-30; Vladimir Tatlin, Corner Relief, 1915; Smith,
  Blackburn: Song of an Irish Blacksmith, 1949-50, steel and broze, 45 x 49 x 24”; Smith
                            making a sculpture, 1951 (below left)
(left to right) David Smith, Tanktotem IX, 1960, steel, painted, 90 x 33 x 24”; Picasso,
  Bull’s Head, bicycle seat and handlebars, 1943; Smith, Cubi XVII, 1963, stainless
                                   steel,108 x 64 x 38”

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