Monday, 15 February 2010

Max Ernst

A quick note about Surrealism and connected terminology: a revolutionary movement and a mode of representation in painting sculpture, film and literature. Surrealists revolted against social and artistic conventions. To do this they exploited the material of dreams, of states of mind between sleeping and waking, and of natural or artificially induced hallucinations. The surrealists produced works that included dreamlike and nightmarish sequences and the juxtaposition of unrelated objects. However, surrealistic or the surreal are now words often used in a loose sense to refer (one may argue wrongly) to any bizarre imaginative effect. There are many references to surrealism in cyberspace discourse. I must reread Richard Coyne’s book Technoromanticism.

Automatism: a term devised I think by Andre Breton to describe a type of writing, but in the visual arts it is non-structured drawing or doodling (usually a form of freehand abstraction), with eyes and (as far as possible) the mind closed, was believed by surrealists to be a means of tapping into the creative powers of the unconscious.

Frottage: The technique of frottage was developed by Max Ernst in 1924 & 1925. Frottage was the technique of taking a rubbing from a textured surface by placing a piece of paper over it, and shading with a soft crayon or pencil so that an impression appears on the surface.

From the Natural History series In the Stable of Sphinx 1925

From the Natural History series Leaf Customs 1925

Grattage (also referred to raclage by the Phaedon Dictionary of Surrealism.): a technique where layers of paint are applied on a basic surface made uneven by objects laid under it, usually with a light background, and then, half random, half consciously scratched off again in raised places.

Vision induced by the Nocturnal Aspect of the Porte St. Denis. 1927

The Horde 1927

Petrified Forest 1927

Cage, Forrest and Black Sun 1927

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