Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Literature Review Two - ''Dada, Surrealism, and their heritage' by.. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Dada movement and Surrealism, I find are like the teenage rebels of art history. For those that aren't familiar, Dada sprung in the early 20th Century at a time when 'sticking it to the man' was the way to go. Most artists such as Marcelle Duchamp and Andre Bretton, liked to engage in this protest art against the upper Bourgeois by taking already existing art, destroying it and then piecing it back together to portray an abstract and bizarre twist to the original. By the early 1920's, Dadism had begun to vanish out and in place a new movement took its role, that of Surrealism.I found this book to be quite insightful into the history of the movements and how they shaped and influenced future art and their creators. 

 What I found most interesting is how modern Surrealism seemed to be, in my opinion way before its time. I believe this because such a concept is just so weird and passionate, something that at a time when most things that went agaisnt the norm were to be percieved as a taboo and not something to bring up over dinner conversation, the art that the Surrealist movement created was just that. It didn't make sense and that was the sole purpose of it. It created a situation that enabled the unquestionable to be left unquestioned and to take classical art and throw it out the window, guiding art to become more subjective and extreme.  With Duchamps example of 'L.H.O.O.Q', in which he painted a moustache and beard onto a copy of the infamous 'Mona Lisa' we see how naughty and at times cheeky this movement enabled people to be. For once art was about not confining to any rules or to any norms that society had prevoiusly commanded for us all.'Dada, Surrealism, and their heritage', gives great examples of the types of art created, with pages after pages of out there creations and educates the stories behind them. It goes into great depth to not only explain the theory itself but the reasoning behind it. 

Why this movement in particular speaks volumes to me is the immense passion and fire behind creating these werid wonders. Such 'political' artists as George Grosz were so antibourgeois that his artworks proved to become satires in provoking the city streets and framing the corruption of society. Since he had experinced first hand the great expectations that society threw on young men at that time since he was a soldier, he felt it necessary to show through his art how disgusted he was by the experinces he had been forced into. 
There are more examples of artists such as Rene Margritte who produced works 
that left people wondereing and trying to make sense of it all. The piece to the right, 'Pleasure' shows a young child eating a bird alive. To suggest such cannibalism from such a young child leaves one to question the artists intentions and the shock they were trying to provoke.

Salvador Dalis' works are also a bizarre delight. The work to the left, 'In Volupate Mors' features what seems like a skull... but is made up of naked woman, carefully positioned to create the resembelance a skeleta
l feature.
Dali was also adamant to turn something so common and well known, such as an everyday object as a clock and pick it from the normality of everyday life and turn it into something strange to make it become fascinating and unknown again, as can be seen in the painting on the right, 'Montre Molle au Moment'.

I found that the information produced wasn't too tiresome or overdone as can be the case with most historical books. It's articulated well and provides some very fascinating insights throughout the movements development. It can all be absorbed at a reasonable pace and explains the artists motives and techniques very well. The only vice with this book that I can suggest is that the pictures are all in black and white.. and whilst I realize that's not a huge deal-breaker... I think it would have just been more visually appealing to see the Surrealists art in the very way they were meant to be presented, as their use of colour expresses their moods just as much as the content does.

No comments:

Post a Comment