Nice Blog :)
I really like the works by Jan Svankmajer. Animation is a great medium for surrealist art since it provides the total freedom and flexibility for depicting the unconscious world in motion. In Darkness/Light/Darkness, the story is far away from the perception of reality and explores other aspects of human mind as emotions like desires, doubts, fears, etc. It also creates an atmosphere of asphyxia closer to nightmares than to dreams. It plays with the absurd and the spontaneous adding also a note of humor. Watching another masterpiece in youtube “Dimensions of Dialogue”, I found it very interesting to analyze the strong psychological message it posses as I read the comments people wrote. Almost all try to “interpret” it with some insight at dreams, sexual references, desires, thoughts about one’s self and influences on personality. So even when the majority of the viewers not necessarily have a theoretical background of what surrealism is all about, it talks by itself in works of great artists like Svankmajer.
As much as I admire the surrealist movement and the paintings done during this era, the films produced during this time is incomprehensible. I watched the video clips that you posted on the blog and I was completely confused and it made no sense, but then again that may have been the intention at the time. However, one surrealist that I absolutely love is Rene Magritte. His work has been an inspiration for many people, including during our era. His artwork has been used in diverse album covers for musical bands as well as having appearances in different films.What I find interesting was how he would use everyday objects in his work. Just like most artists, he wanted to go against the classical approach of seeing and interpreting things. Magritte described the style in which he demonstrates the objects by stating: “In my pictures I showed objects situated where we never find them. They represented the realization of the real if unconscious desire existing in most people” (Caws, Surrealist painters and poets, p. 35). A misconception with Magritte’s work is that the objects he would use, does not necessarily have a symbolic meaning to them. His confirmation of this was when he said, “A person would have to know nothing about my painting to associate it with a naïve or scholarly symbol” (Passeron, René Magritte, p.26). As artists, we cannot help but interpret what we see and analyze every little detail of things; however Magritte made sure to clarify that he was not interested in the symbolism of objects but rather just wanted one to see the work in itself.
SurrealismLiterally, south of, or below/under, reality…and so we have the conscious application of Freud’s essential modern distinction between the conscious tip of the iceberg and the tremendous mountain of the sub-conscious which lies hidden beneath the visible surface. It was his pioneering work in the newly-rekindled and expanding field of psychology and psychiatry that provided the spark of inspiration for the modern style of Surrealism. Salvador Dalí was the leading artistic exponent of Freud’s understanding…and the two are now forever linked. Thus, Freud is the fathering fount from which flows the forms of flowering Surrealism. Contemporaneously, film has become the medium by which Surrealism continues to exert a presence in the art world. But in previous generations, it was the medium of painting…specifically and most notably that of Dalí which heralded the newfound language. That’s just it…surrealism was a new language that employed images that were de-contextualized, juxtaposed, and at times even distorted in an effort to symbolize the primal emotions, urges, and moods that relentlessly lurk beneath the surface of seeming day to day reality.
Zureyka: Actually, that's the best surrealist complement. What's ythe goal of Surrealist humor? The subversive nature of juxtaposition of seemingly absurd situations as a way to tap into our unconscious mind
... such "humor" explores the idea behind life's meaninglessness, what French Existentialism equated with the idea of the absurd.
With exception to a couple of the automatists like Miro, I generally find most Surrealist artwork boring rather than profound. The explicit literalness, even if not rationally illustrative, seems too obvious and/or trite to maintain my interest. This is a bit of a paradox because Surrealism was especially influential to a lot of literature, music, and art that I really admire. The Surrealists played a pivotal role in the development of art in the US. After Paris fell to the Nazis in 1940, most of the major Surrealists, including Breton, Chagal, Dali, Ernst, Leger, Lipchitz, Masson, Matta, Mondrian, Ozenfante, Seligmann, Tanguy, Tchelichew, Zadkine fled to New York. This shift helped launch New York as the international art capital not only because these important artists began working there, but also because of the influence that they had over the generation of American artist that would become the Abstract Expressionists. Matta’s abstract automatism played a huge role in the development of American artists including Gorky, Hofmann, Pollock, DeKooning, Baziotes, Rothko, & Gottleib. These artists employed automatism to arrive at their forms freely and directly. But they recognized that these forms alone were nothing but raw material and believed as Masson did that art has inherent value of it's own that cannot be replaced by psychiatric interest. Consequently these artists invented something completely new when they integrated the forms that they derived from Surrealist techniques with modern pictorial values that they learned from Picasso, Matisse, and Mondrian.
I have to say that I do agree with the article that was posted about getting away with art. I understand that a lot of it has to do with taste and of course there is the saying, "art is in the eye of the beholder," however I also feel that a certain amount of pride has to exist on the artist's part for a piece before it can be called art. In order for an artist to be proud of something that he/she has made, a certain amount of effort has to be put into its creation. I know that by bringing this up then the question becomes "who should judge art" but I don't understand how someone can be proud of a crumpled piece of paper. No effort was made to create it, so how can it be called art? At what point were vomiting and defecating considered art? It's like the article says, "If talent and skill aren't required to produce a work of art, if a striving for truth or excellence or beauty has nothing to do with artistic greatness, if craftsmanship and effort matter less than attitude and gimmickry - in short, if there are no standards, then why not fawn over an "artist" who "works with rubbish?""
Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain is by far my favorite film. Jodorowsky directs, stars, scores, and does the art direction for Holy Mountain. Holy Mountain looks like a movie with a massive budget, but they were only working with $750,000. Going beyond the films social value, I would consider each set a piece of artwork in it of itself. This movie reminds of Bunuel's L'age Dor, in the sense that it is extremely blasphemous towards Catholicism. Holy Mountain, however, is much more comprehensible as a movie in my opinion. There are scenes in this movie that are disturbing, yet at the same time are hilarious because of their absurdity. The acting is wonderful. when we first meet jodorowsky's character, the alchemist, he walks in what seems like slow motion, and it perfect. When Jodorowsky was younger, he studied under famous mime Marcel Marceau. There is a scene at the beginning of the movie that i particularly enjoy that begins with a crowd of people surrounding a large scale model of Mexico city. the city is filled with various exotic frogs wearing colorful armor and a large frog representing Montezuma. Three ships come in with crosses on their sails, and armored lizards and frogs hop off dressed in armor and they represent the Spanish conquistadors. From here there is a "battle royale" of sorts that ends with the entire model blowing up. This movie is a must see, i would go into more detail about the movie, but i feel that i simply cannot describe it better than if it were to be watched. Jodorowsky creates a world that at first seems mystical and far from our realities, but his messages are true.
The movies that I watched were all very interesting. I’m not sure I really understood Guy Maddin’s Tales From The Gimli Hospital. A lot was going on without a clear narration or words. It made a little more sense after reading the description but I still wasn’t too sure what I thought about it. But I did see the artistic quality in it and the fact that is was so old and still being to pull off certain effects was impressive.One that I did enjoy was Monty Python’s Silly Dance. It was funny and that then popular slapstick comedy is rarely seen these days. The physical humor is what sold it. But my favorite of the films was Takaski Miike’s Gozu. Though incredibly weird I did like the scenary and the darker humor it had. At first you don’t know whether the Cow head character is bad or good but at the end you find out he’s friendly.
Wow! WTF was that!?!?!? Is it safe to assume that lack of posts this week might be a reaction to these films? Anyone else puzzled? Have they left most posters speechless? Wonderfully strange!Regarding Amanda’s post and the article discussing “art”, Amanda suggests a couple of things which I think can be easily argued. Firstly the statement that, “In order for an artist to be proud of something that he/she has made, a certain amount of effort has to be put into its creation.” I would suggest that the effort of taking ownership of something as absurd as a “crumpled piece of paper, vomit, or feces”, finding a meaning in it, and displaying it as an artist, not to mention officially making it part of one’s collection of works, I think clearly shows pride but also takes considerable thought and conceptual effort. I mean they are taking ownership of this. After all, isn’t that what Dada is primarily about? As a cultural movement involving visual arts, theatre, literature, and graphic design, this was predominantly conceptual and revolutionizing by intent. The objective is clearly to reject prevailing standards through artistic expression, and deny the status quo logic in lieu of chaos and irrationality. In essence it was a rebellion through artistic manifestation for a worthy cause. Was it radical? Absolutely. Crafty, perhaps not as far as “craftsmanship” goes, but I think it was necessary in order to really shake things up and further open the playing field.
I Love Monty Python, i never would have related it to our class discussions, i clicked on the link and found out about other television shows that fall under that category, most of which that are featured on Adult Swim, a late night comedy program for adults on Cartoon Network.Obviously through out time, everything evolves and changes, sometimes basic truths and flaws that are in our systems and countries can be exposed by such forms, like Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, even Family Guy.However critical the shows are they still reveal the someone's truth, and can certainly lighten up any situation. For me, random is good, anything that is not a cliche, helps me break free from everyday life every once in a while, especially in the from stand alone 30 minute episodes.
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