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Surrealism, by Guifré Pastó .

December 23, 2013

Surrealism, by Guifré Pastó .

Salvador Dali, The Eye of Time, 1949

Surrealism, of which the first figure that comes to mind is that of Salvador Dalí, was a movement that encompassed painting, along with literature, poetry and photography. This style, as we know, was born in a time marked by a great creative activity in the field of the arts; it is the age of Dadaism, Cubism, Surrealism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Futurism and Abstraction. It is also an era marked by the voracious changes of not only the destructive First and Second World Wars, but also by the changes that emerge in the world of science. Concurrently, Einstein publishes his theory of relativity questioning reality itself, while Sigmund Freud develops his theory of psychoanalysis, granting the man with a sudden complexity.

What is more, all these advances end up serving the Great World Wars.

Salvador Dalí, Premonition of the Civil War, delicate construction with boiled beans.1936

Salvador Dalí, Geopolitical child observing the birth of the new man.1943

Faced with this reality, the surrealists attempt in their art to report a rationality that, in the end, is destroying the human being. Surrealism is, after all, an anti-bourgeois movement, criticizing the prosperous society and following the Marxist ideology.

 Sigmund Freud

But on the other hand, in the early twentieth century, Sigmund Freud starts publishing his studies on dreams and psychoanalysis, proclaiming that the subconscious is the basis of our personality and the reality that dominates our actions and thoughts. During wakefulness we repress our thoughts, but then the more instinctive animal and the child we have inside us wake up to take control over our actions; these facts, according to Freud, are reflected in our dreams, which are the sublimation of our desires.
The surrealists were deeply impressed by these theories and by the use of the free association of ideas in Freud’s studies. And so, they proclaimed that art should not be a conscious act: reason gives us science, madness gives us art.

In 1924, writer André Breton writes the First Surrealist Manifesto and defines Surrealism as the pure mental automatism by which we try to express verbally, in writing or in any other way the real functioning of thought and as the mental dictation lacking the control of reason, beyond any aesthetic or ethical consideration. Thus, it is clear how Surrealism tries to avoid the intervention of reason in all actions and focuses on representing the inner world.

Surrealist Group , París 1933

Although these surrealist theories of creating without passing through the filter of reason were not as new, the use of mind-altering narcotics is something that many thinkers, magicians, sorcerers or artists had practiced since ancient times in order to perform their works. It can be seen therefore as a kind of return to the shamanic art.

Even though we can find in the past surrealist painters such as Hieronymus Bosch or Benno Von Archimboldi, some of the greatest exponents of surrealism are Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Marc Chagall or Joan Miró, who represents the abstract surrealism.

Hieronymus Bosch, the Garden of Earthly Delights (detail), 1503-1504
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Benno von Archimboldi, Winter, 1573

Salvador Dali was a Catalan painter and his work reflects both his mental complexity as the natural environment where it was developed, the city of Cadaqués. He used the paranoiac-critical method which he described as the spontaneous method of irrational learning based on the critical and systematic objectivity of the association and interpretation of delusional methods which would be the ability to perceive links between objects that are not rationally connected.

This method attempts to call into question all the apparent reality; any object can be at the same time another one. Dalí emulates the strange constitution of dreams, the elements are changeable, and objects interact with each other transforming themselves or sharing some of their parts. Dalí contributes to the mystification of the day-to-day, the outside world becoming an unstable and unreliable phenomenon.

The Persistence of Memory, Melting Clocks, 1931

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, 1931

Swans Reflecting as Elephants, 1937 

Christ of San Juan de la Cruz, 1951

René Magritte, Belgian painter, with his work of great firmness and realism, paints with great care and plays both with the images and the titles that complement his works. Magritte explores everyday enigmas, creating irrational realities. In his paintings, he considers the paradoxes between perception and reality, juxtaposing objects to create new elements in the attempt to subvert the dogmatic view of the physical world and alter its empirical normality.

La trahison des images,1929 

Golconda, 1935

The Son of Man, 1964

Marc Chagall, Belarusian painter in whose paintings people fly, animals think or buildings are supported by their roofs, walks though the worlds of magic, fantasy and the unreal, always marked by a great spirituality and inspired by the customs of his nation. He paints several religious images, always working with vivid colours and making use of symbolism to grant his works with a deeper meaning. For Marc Chagall, great art begins where nature ends.

The Green Violinist, 1924

Loneliness, 1933

White crucifixion, 1938

Joan Miró, Catalan painter, was a painter, sculptor, engraver and ceramist. After a phase marked by Cubism, he starts working with a style that best expresses the inner soul and his works are dominated by an atmosphere found beyond the limits of reality, this being their main characteristic. For Miró, the most important thing in a work of art is its impact, its effect on the observer; and for him how this happens is not an objective in itself. Although he was actively involved with the surrealists, he did not end up joining this movement since he was trying to end, kill the painting in order to not give in to its demands.

Tilled Field, 1924     
Dutch Interior, 1928

Woman, bird and star, 1970

We can conclude that surrealism is a mental exercise of escaping the reality of one’s time and giving us back that imaginative, magical almost mystical or childish ability to interact with the world, all the while trying to grant chance with the same rank as the one acquired by science; it is here where all these works are born without a rational script.

Guifré Pastó
Guifré Pastó Cortina,In his work Guifré aims at translating in intimate communion the infinity which conforms his unconscious with a outer space deep; eternal and ethereal at the same time .and aims to capture the beauty: in the infinity that is in the sensitive way.The reality of his painting wants to reconcile the contradiction to aspire to the infinity, breaking all realization and delimitation of what is displayed, trying to capture what escapes.His work is near the romanticism. A “neoromantic” who wants his representations constantly evokes the infinity, the unfinished work which always goes beyond the concrete realization. This synthesis between the finite and the infinite, what is real and what is ideal, between what is objective and what is subjective, under the guise of finiteness concrete in the paint, you find that the mind an intuition the dimension of transcendence that hides.Josep Cardenyosa Marin (professor of philosophy and art theoretician)In the work of Pastó appreciates a virtuous exercise that aims to capture the enduring beauty in what is finite and ephemeral.This objective, which emerges in a manner completely natural and instinctive, endows the painting of Guifré of some religiosity, while deepening in the search for something beyond what is strictly formal; grass imbues with some concepts of the first romanticism of the nineteenth century, of the painters that confer to the nature a vital entity and aware, as if it were the work of a demiurge immeasurable. The spectator may not avoid having to remember details of the mysterious natures of Runge or Friederich, while the love of the human essence of W. Blake.This “neoromanticismo” plastic and atavistic is manifested in the work of Pastó through the dialog between the expired and the perennial, the ephemeral and the eternal, the internal and external paths of his painting are interwoven in a symphony that glistens the ideas more intangible to the side of the purer revelation, in a deep catharsis of the senses.
Translation: Andrada Marcusano
Edited by : Elia Requena
Article written by Guifré Pastó

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