Friday, March 18, 2011


Having read Sigmund Freud’s “Civilization and Its Discontents” I can see the interest Surrealist found in the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is mystery that is always going to contrast our conscious mind. Surrealist didn’t understand why we should censor our id. Primitive senses are not controlled by the super-ego and that they believed to be true freedom and a purer sense. Surrealist used Freudian theories in their art by giving full creative power to their id, although in actuality this is never possible, as the super-ego can never be fully deleted for any conscious thought.
 Each artist used different techniques to attempt to find the purest id thoughts possible, these included freely talking of their obsessions (often phallic), any dream sequences they could recall, and symbolism. Other techniques included folding a blank page into five pieces and letting each draw a part of the human body all the way down to the feet. They also used a technique called automatic writing, which was much of the same ideas as folding a blank page where each writes a word that ends with a story being written. These ideas transformed into creating uncanny or “das unheimich” art. They unleashed the human psyche and the battleground of rational and irrational thoughts.
In 1924 the Surrealist Manifesto was written to being the Surrealist movement. Many artists that were apart of the Dada movement joined the Surrealist and many of their radical techniques were incorporated. They felt that by using some of the Dada techniques they could perhaps spark the unconscious mind. It was difficult to achieve and many artist tried everything they could to make every action automatic so that the super-ego did not interfere.
The Surrealist artist that perhaps didn’t know he was a Surrealist that I found most interesting was Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico who made Melancholy and Mystery of a Street in 1914. He made it a very interesting scape by juxtaposing buildings and horizon lines in a way that makes you feel like you’re in a very enclosed space. You’re definitely in Italy in perhaps a very prestigious part of town, where there are very large buildings. It is most likely very early in the morning because the streets are empty, except for the man with his walking stick and the young girl with her toy. To your right something has escaped from its wagon. It is very sinister as you are quite not sure what to make of the juxtaposition of the young playful child and the man about to turn the corner. The beautiful gold being shadowed by dark figures is frightening. Especially in modern times with being taught from such a young age not to talk to strangers and even your next-door neighbor could be a serial killer. It is a dream sequence almost but a very clean dream sequence and one that seems to make more sense to me. Although I don’t feel comfortable truly attempting to analyze it because you could never really understand what it is. It is a thought that was made perhaps during a dream and it is probably so deeply personal to the artist that he may not even understand where it came from.
One of my favorite methods of expression is sculpture, especially seeing after seeing Constatin Brancusi. He reminds me a lot of Surrealist because he wanted to rework his sculptures that is very similar to re-dreaming ideas and having reoccurring fetishes and fantasies. Sculpture is a very primitive technique that from personal experience I know you can never really force the raw materials to go in the exact direction that you want them to. These raw materials truly have a mind of their own, and that is very similar to Surrealist and they want to have in a way the least amount of conscious control as possible. Also there is the very obvious phallic Princess X that was created by Brancusi. He had strong connections to this idea of Freud’s relationship and analysis of the French Princess it is dedicated to. It interesting to see a man next to Princess X and how uncomfortable his unconscious mind makes him, Princess X staring him the face. I think sculpture works better that perhaps painting because it is three-dimensional and it is right in front of you and it is real and there isn’t anyway to just flip the page or pretend you never saw it.
Surrealism is very interesting but also very easy to get lost in. I don’t know how these 20th century Surrealist were able to totally give their lives to this Freudian idea of the Id, Ego, and the Super-Ego. It is amusing and almost very frightening of an idea. Especially into today’s world were many want more control over their space and their bodies. I would have to agree with those who reject Freud’s notions and believe that dreams are just fragments of our imagination juxtaposed in very random ways. Although it is fun to be able to pick at Surrealist brain’s as they allowed us to by giving us a deeper level of artwork then ever seen before.

SKETCHBOOK, some misc drawings out of 100

my favorite, although not pretty captures something


Monday, March 14, 2011

The Fourth Dimension of Art in the 20th c

When attempting to understand the fourth dimension you must realize it is a space that man has never entered. Our world is based upon three dimensions. In order to overcome the barriers of the dimension we live in and enter into the fourth dimension we must be able to travel through any matter, energy, space, and time. An example would be traveling through a solid wall or being able to put your hand through another body. However in our present reality this is impossible. We know no way to make our bodies disappear and there is no way we can move faster than the speed of light. The only moments we get traces of the fourth dimension is from death and while we are asleep dreaming. This is why I chose to curate the revolutionary art of Kazimir Malevich, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and contemporary artist David Hockney. They all show examples of an artist attempting to realize the fourth dimension on a two dimensional plane. Laying these thoughts out and understanding them in a medium that everyday people can relate to.
            Choosing Cubist art was relatively easy as I found while analyzing it, a constant reflection upon reflection of shapes. I noticed multiples views that reminded me of a person looking through glass. I also realized the overlapping of passages and planes. That is when I understood the appearance of the fourth dimensional world. The fourth dimensional world would appear as a constant shifting of spaces that at times were completely invisible and then when you moved to get a closer look it would appear entirely solid. I noticed when looking at Portrait of Ambrose Vollard that he appears to be slowly dissolving into different shapes or planes and this reminded me of perhaps the image one would get as a man is dying and you see his essence leave his body. There was energy and emotions rather than just a body, I related this to the rule that a body, physically could not exists in the fourth dimension. I knew that Analytical Cubism was attempting to analyze not the perceptions of a man but a universe that did exist where one could see simultaneity.
            I had a feeling that I could not understand Kazimir Malevich’s Black on White just by first glance. This is because of the very obvious fact that we live in a very objective world. In the 21st century people cannot let go of their objects and symbolism. It takes a very strong person in these times to disconnect from all electronics. Could you imagine asking a person to disconnect from the objective world? I truly felt that after looking at Black on White, Malevich wanted the viewer to let go and completely immerse themselves in a world of black. Where the only thing left for you is your mind, the reflection of who you are. I don’t think I could have full realized this until I read Malevich’s Suprematist Manifesto. This is the first time I really realized that as an artist he was really beyond his times. Discovering an idea that is very much significant to the material world we live in.  When looking at White on White I felt the fourth dimensional ideas reappear. This was very much aligned to the idea that space would lay within space, endlessly. That cool space may overlap warm space as shown by the tints added to the white spaces.
            Finally a long time ago I had read a book about David Hockney’s photography and realized how much it was a modern interpretation of Cubism. Hockney used modern technology to his advantage he composed simultaneity with real images. His use of real time stamped images of a women in Nude (Teresa Russell) was an amazing way to show an even closer look at fourth dimensional reality. It was the missing link to the exhibition. It made this entire concept “real” not just something drawn up or written out. His use of photography creates a visual language that a younger generation can relate to and understand.