Archive for art and subconscious

Art and the Subconscious: Sleight of mind

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2009 by echostains

 

dali persistence of time

 

Being fascinated with the subconscious and the art associated with it, starting with the Surrealists (see Max Ernst) and earlier post: ‘Altered book page 10 Freefalling Snake in the Grass’ and  ‘Altered art book page 4 A Qustion of Life and Death’   you will see what I mean.  Artist have used many different means to tap the subconscious.  Methods of producing paintings and drawings, writings and other works where the artist supresses conscious control over the movement of the hand, allowing the subconscious mind to take over is called automatism.

gisele-prassinos-reading-her-poems-to-the-surrealists

 

Automatism in its fully developed form is a 20th Century phenomenon.  The Dadaists made use of the basic idea, though they were more interested in chance effects than automatism as such.  For example, Dali after working in a variety of styles influenced by Cubism, Futurism and Metaphysical painting, turned to Surrealsm in 1929 and never looked back.  He transformed automatism into a more positive method which he called ‘Critical Paranoia’, eleaborating on images in his dreams and fantasies and merging them with the natural world.

salvador-dali-metamorphosis-of-narcissus-

salvador-dali-metamorphosis-of-narcissus-

 There are many paths into the subconscious though…….

To be continued

 

 

 

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The Bride keeps her Clothes on after all these years

Posted in ART with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2009 by echostains

I found this writing I did a few years ago when I was in my Foundation years at Uni.

‘Art and the Subconscious’

“The French writer Andre Breton wrote his first Manifesto in 1924.  Its main objective being to ‘express verbally or by other means the actual functioning of thought – in the absense of any control exercised by reason’.  One of the first artists to be inspired by this and take it as a direction, was Max Ernst.  He had been impressed by Freud’s ‘Leonardo’ essay, where the artist commented on ‘the beauty of spots on the wall’, remarking that ‘if one looks carefully enough, you will make some wonderful discoveries’.  Ernst tried this by placing a piece of paper on his floorboards and rubbing a black pencil over it and thereby producing a ‘frottage’.  He was surprised and amazed by the sudden increase to his visionary faculties and by the contradictory and super imposed images that emerged…………..”

As you can imagine I couldn’t wait to try this out and made loads of these frottages, non of which have survived.  Max Ernst was a favorite artist of mine and one of my favorites paintings that I was actually lucky enough to see in the flesh (Surrealism – Desire Unbound) at the Tate in 2002.  It didn’t disappoint.  This is what I wrote about the painting  (before I knew any of the political implications) : –

ernst The robing of the Bride 1940

 

 

 

“One of my favorite paintings has always been ‘The Robing of the Bride’  (1940) by Max Ernst.  Looking at this painting always produces a sort of primitive response.  This image was on the first poster I ever bought for my first flat.  I never get bored with looking at this image, I find it intriguing, full of symbolism that I don’t fully understand, yet somehow feel familiar with.

This painting echoes something within me that I have nearly forgotten, yet know sense to be still there, though I am unable to quite bring it to the surface.  The effect this painting has on me today  is the same as the first time I saw it.  The secretive Owl like head dress: the small face wedged on top of the breasts: the dark deformed creature crying on the chessboard floor: the texture of the painting (I know now to be ‘Decalcomania’).  I find these images particularly intriguing.  A metamorphosis is going on that sustains my interest on a deeper level each and it happens every time I look at this painting.”

europe_after_rain-1942-decalcomania

europe_after_rain-1942-decalcomania

 One of the interpretations of this painting is the dangers involved in a marriage of the ‘French bride’  to the ‘German Barbarian’.  This is one of the given interpretations.  Ernst was politically conscious, but his oeuvre was the subconscious and the means of reaching it.  So perhaps this political statement was not his sole intention.  I would like to think that Ernst would not be too bothered whether his painting was appreciated as a political statement or whether it be enjoyed on a surreal level.  I am resolved not to resolve the enigma of this painting.