Friday, August 15, 2014

Surrealism (pt. 12)

If dreams, fantasy, and the subconscious serve as the inspiration for Surrealism, then what significance is to be found in things which aren't real?  Wouldn't we better spend our time looking at images corresponding to realities, such as the great historical paintings, like Jacques-Louis David's Oath of the Tennis Court?  The truth is that Surrealist artists saw a truth to be found within the subconscious—not just from a Freudian perspective but for the sake of art as well.  Like Manet, these artists sought to paint what they saw as the truth (albeit a different kind of truth, or with different approaches).  The deconstructive agenda of the prior generation—of the Dadaists and the Abstract and Non-Objective painters—was expanded with the Surrealists into a broader agenda not only commenting on art but reality itself.  Many of these paintings make overt and direct commentary on the nature of life and the human condition.  This can come about through the Surreal since our subconscious already works within a level of cognizance outside of the parameters of reality.  In other words, these confusing paintings address our minds in more direct ways than any other art we have looked at so far, because they directly call upon and engage that latent aspect of our psyche which communicates best through art: the subconscious.
RenĂ© Magritte became famous for challenging the human eye to look at otherwise ordinary objects and scenes in different lights and different contexts.  His playful distortion of reality and perception commented on the expanding potential for creativity within the arts but also carried intriguing implications for philosophy and sociology in the real world.  The artist himself viewed his work as a means of exploring the truth about the human experience.

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