Thoughts on Surrealism
It is interesting to notice that after 71 years "Automatism" is still at the center of the Surrealist debate. Whether it is an uncontrollable flow of the subconscious or a meditated attempt to intellectual manipulation, surrealism is above all a temperamental and an emotional experience enjoyed by the creator as well as by the viewer. It is the colour and the form that set the stage for the ideological development of the movement. The importance of imagery enriched by dreams, real or unreal, is pivotal in thrusting Surrealism to the forefront of 20th century art.
Art, like a river, flows to its ultimate destination. Those who follow that river, consciously or subconsciously, will leave their mark on the banks of history. It is not an easy course, it is a rough voyage through the gorges of opposition, over the rapids of conflict, along the valleys of indifference to the estuary of wisdom. No one is more aware of the artistic odyssey than the Surrealist, who had to endure improper criticism (Dalí), utter arrogance (Magritte) and sophisticated discrimination (De Chirico). The struggle of excellence against the raging sea of mediocrity is endless.
Freedom of expression is still at the core of the Surrealist creation. There are no limitations to the flight of the imagination. There is no time, there is no space in a dream-world. Everything moves without apparent reason, but not without vitality; shadows of unknown objects enter the physical visual plane of the canvas without warning, but not without presentiment. Mannequins seek a relationship with mythology, but not with history; their presence questions the world we live in, but not the world we invent every day of our artistic life.
Surrealism is the magic that liberates our mind from the chains of time and enables us, the artists, to charge familiar objects and sites with mystery and enchantment. In a painting so created, you can still recognize a man and a woman, a horse and a rider, a plant and a tree, a flower and a fruit, and yet the relation with each other goes beyond the realm of appearance, and the interrelationship between appearance and reality goes to the center of the enigma that converts the known into the unknown - the act of painting is at once cathartic and regenerative. Woman is presented as the subject of desire in the erotic composition of many paintings but Love is still glorified as much as creative power notwithstanding the libidinous cravings of our mind and body.
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Revised: December 3, 1997