Monday, April 8, 2013

Salvador Dali: Surrealism: Intro

File:Salvador Dalí 1939.jpg

The art movement, Surrealism, developed during the late 1920s- 30s. Surrealism was inspired by DaDa movement, its main objective was to free people from the imprisonment of societal norm. Indeed, surrealism is defined as the pure psychic automatism by which it intended to express, wither verbally or in writing, the true function of thought; thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations.There are two key themes of surrealist paintings: 1) the original function of an object is denied 2) the viewer is forced to re evaluate the work, and to question any pre-disposed expectations. In addition, there are two different types of surrealist art: 1) Biomorphic Surrealism - more natural forms, they are a dictation of thought without control of the mind 2) Oneric surrealism - recognizable scenes metamorphosed into dream images and in some cases nightmares.
Along with Rene Magritte and Andre Breton, the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali remains one of the most celebrated surrealist painter in art history. My post will focus on his painting The Persistence of Memory. Salvador Dali was greatly influenced by the Freudian Philosophy concerning dreams and throughout his career Dali described his paintings as "hand painted dream photographs". Dali's art focused on the relationship between art and the subconscious mind. Dali would through himself into fits of subconscious thoughts, would try to replicate what he saw in his dreams, and would even experiment with hallucinogens (drugs) in order to see their effects on his art.
File:The Persistence of Memory.jpg
In the painting The Persistence of Memory, Dali depicts several melting clocks (one is being devoured by ants) against a seascape, juxtaposing dream-world and reality. Alongside the melting clocks, Dali painted a monstrous image of human like flesh. Dali's painting holds true to Surrealist doctrine in several different ways. First, Dali has taken a common object, the clock, and denied it its original function. Rather than merely depicting time, the melting clocks symbolize how objects that once seem strong eventually fade away. The melting clocks also represents times ability to decay. Second, Dali has forced his audience to question their original expectations and observations. The "dead carcass" in the center of the painting is actually a distorted self portrait of Salvador Dali. Some critics say Dali's self image may symbolize his perception of life: peaceful and without control of time.
The Persistence of Memory focuses on several themes: time, and imagination vs. reality. When I look at this painting, I feel tired. It make me want to hide under the covers. It also reminds me that time is really  just a figment of our imagination, it is not a physical object.

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