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Dada and Surrealism

by: Jessika Song

Dada and Surrealism ARHI 2400

Jessika Song

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These notes are a combination of material from the textbook and from class lectures, to give you all of the information you'll need for the exam.
History of Art Survey, Part II
Beth Fadeley
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jessika Song on Friday April 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ARHI 2400 at University of Georgia taught by Beth Fadeley in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see History of Art Survey, Part II in Art History at University of Georgia.

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Date Created: 04/29/16
&CFC▯CPF▯5WTTGCNKUO▯▯ Dada and Surrealism Dada [1916-1923]: Prompted by a revulsion against the horror of World War I, Dada embraced political anarchy, the irrational, and the intuitive. A disdain for convention, often enlivened by humor or whimsy, is characteristic of Dada art. Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) - Perhaps the most influential Dadaist; a Frenchman who became the central artist of New York Dada but was also active in Paris. - In 1913, he exhibited his first “readymade” sculptures. Duchamp insisted that the creation of readymades was free from any judgement of either good or bad taste, qualities shaped by a society that he and other Dada artists found aesthetically bankrupt. Readymade: found objects that the artist selected and modified by combining them with another object. Fountain - A porcelain urinal presented on its back, signed “R. Mutt” and dated 1917. - The “art” of this “artwork” lay in the artist’s choice of object, which Duchamp simply called art and forced people to see the object in a new light. - This piece is probably the most aggressive challenge to existing artistic conventions. Surrealism [1925-1939]: a successor to Dada, Surrealism incorporated the improvisational nature of its predecessor into its exploration of the ways to express in art the world of dreams and the unconscious. - Unfolds between WWI and WWII - Surrealism was a distinct movement and more structured than Dada; heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud and adopted different methods of exploring unconscious art-making. Biomorphic Surrealism: Biomorphic Surrealists, such as Joan Miró, produced largely abstract compositions. Naturalistic Surrealism: Naturalistic Surrealists, notably René Magritte and Salvador Dalí, presented recognizable scenes transformed into a dream or nightmare image — depicted extremely naturalistically. Joan Miró (1893-1983) - Spanish artist from Barcelona; resisted formal association with any movement or group, including the Surrealists. - Promoted automatism and described his creative process as a switching back and forth between conscious and unconscious image-making. - From the beginning, Miró’s work contained an element of fantasy and hallucination. The Birth of the World - Miró completed this painting by way of automatism — first applied paint without consciously deciding how he wanted the background to look like, and then added lines and shapes that he had previously planned in studies. - All of the figures are recognizable, but their association with one another is illogical. Automatism: in painting, the process of yielding oneself to instinctive motions of the hands after establishing a set of conditions (such as size of paper or medium) within which a work is to be created. Essentially, does not suppress the consciousness. René Magritte (1898-1967) - Belgian painter who moved to Paris, where he joined the intellectual circle of André Breton. The Treachery of Images - This painting depicts a meticulously rendered trompe l’oiel depiction of a pipe, but the text reads, “This is not a pipe.” - It is true, however, that the pipe is not an actual, tangible pipe, it is just a painting of a pipe, reminding the viewer that whatever/whomever is depicted in art is not the real thing. This calls to question the whole of art history. - Also plays with the tension that arises between text and imagery. The Human Condition - Depiction of a landscape painting in front of the landscape itself, reminding the viewer that the painting is not the thing itself — art is not a window/portal. - Magritte reiterates the idea that the painting is simply an intermediary, thus creating a barrier between the viewer and the real thing. Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) - Born and raised on the coast of Spain. Eventually moved to the United States to flee the chaos of war and politics in Europe. - Explored the human psyche and dreams — strived to depict the world of imagination and concrete irrationality as that of the exterior world of reality. 
 The Persistence of Memory - Dalí has created an allegory of empty space, where time is frozen — apparent in the barren landscape that is illuminated by a never-setting sun. - He also utilized the “Paranoic-Critical Method” — a technique he invented that would allow him to invoke paranoia unto himself and then allow his mind to visualize images in the work. - He was also inspired by a wheel of melting cheese and the idea of a solid form become amorphous by way of melting, thus, the melting timepieces in the painting were born. - Ants swarm mysteriously over the small watch, as if the watch is decaying organic life — soft and sticky. - Dalí rendered every detail of this painting convincingly real — to make the irrational concrete. Guernica - Historical Context: - Fascism: a political movement or tendency that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of business, industry, media, and culture; repression of political opposition; and extreme nationalism; as in National Socialism (Nazism) in Germany and the National Fascist Part in Italy. - Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) — democratic-leaning Republicans in Spain opposed the Italian Nationalists, led by Fransisco Franco. - April 26,1937: German war planes bomb the Basque town of Guernica, who were anti-Franco. - Picasso made use of Cubist techniques, especially in the fragmentation of objects and dislocation of anatomical features, for expressive effect. - To emphasize the scene’s severity and starkness, Picasso reduced the palette to black, white, and shades of grey. - The painting also possesses hallucinatory, nightmarish images associate with Surrealism, the dominant style of the time.


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