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Movements, Styles, and Tendencies Surrealist Sculpture
Surrealist Sculpture Collage

Surrealist Sculpture

Started: 1924

Ended: 1966

Surrealist Sculpture Timeline

Quotes

"Regardless of the form in which it is ultimately presented, the object is intended to amuse, encourage, bore, be thought-provoking, but never to arouse admiration for the technical perfection usually called for by a work of art. I say, the world is full of extraordinary craftsmen, but there are only a few practical dreamers"
Man Ray
"With Giacometti, new figures place their feet on the earth, albeit with infinite scruples, having arisen from the hearts and minds of men."
André Breton
"I tried to make forms grow. I put my trust in the example of seeds, stars, clouds, plants, animals, men, and finally in my innermost being."
Hans Arp
"Attempts I have sometimes made to consciously give form to a painting or even to a sculpture have always failed."
Alberto Giacometti
"All good art has contained both abstract and surrealist elements, just as it has contained both classical and romantic elements - order and surprise, intellect and imagination, conscious and unconscious. Both sides of the artist's personality must play their part."
Henry Moore
"It is in sculpture that I will create a truly phantasmagoric world of living monsters."
Joan Miró
"The exploitation of the chance meeting of two remote realities on a plane unsuitable to them."
Max Ernst
"To give form to a myth, to produce a new reality from a given material, from a physical thrust that forces a gesture to be carried and placed in the world. The real suddenly appears from this struggle."
Joan Miró
"When I invented Surrealist objects, I had the deep inner fulfilment of knowing, while the group went into ecstasies over their operation that these objects very exactly reproduced the contradictions of a rectal sphincter at work, so that what they were thus admiring was their own fear."
Salvador Dalí
"It is essentially upon the object that Surrealism has thrown most light in recent years. Only the very close examination of the many recent speculations to which the object has publicly given rise (the oneiric object, the object functioning symbolically, the real and virtual object, the moving but silent object, the phantom object, the discovered object, etc.), can give one a proper grasp of the experiments that Surrealism is engaged in now. In order to continue to understand the movement, it is indispensable to focus one's attention on this point."
André Breton

KEY ARTISTS

Man RayMan Ray
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Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
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Hans ArpHans Arp
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Alberto GiacomettiAlberto Giacometti
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Henry MooreHenry Moore
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Hans BellmerHans Bellmer
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"People were no longer limited to talking about their phobias, manias, feelings and desires, but could now touch them, manipulate and operate them with their own hands."

Salvador Dalí Signature

Synopsis

Surrealist sculpture rose from a desire to concretize what lies beneath. In the 1920s, the Surrealism movement began as artists and writers began to delve deeper underneath everyday, literal existence to mine the sandbox of the unconscious mind. It was a revolutionary impetus and philosophical drive first, its members craved to pierce the veil between reality and our more primitive desires, fantasies, taboos and the unconscious ephemera that nevertheless affects real life. They accomplished this by creating visual works across a massive spectrum of art, film, music, literature and philosophy. Surrealist sculpture evolved this process further by making manifest three dimensional objects conjured from those primal, subconscious spaces, bringing them to physical form where the underlying power and mystical presence of the imagination could no longer be denied.

Key Ideas

Surrealist sculpture perfectly enhanced Surrealism's radical provocations by forcing people to encounter physical objects that represented taboo or repressed issues floating just beneath our common surfaces. Rather than simply viewing a painting that might express one artist's buried madness or embarrassing fantasy, viewers were now invited to interact with the unreal made real, and touch a fantastical embodiment of repressed desire.
Two major veins of work defined surrealist sculpture: the "biomorph" and the "objet trouvé" - giving two-sided insight into the way the imagination works when attempting to materialize the pure unconscious. In the former, we find abstracted shapes and forms created through organic, emotional association. In the latter, we find compositions of random items chosen intuitively without strategy or predetermination. Both represent the non-strategic, automatic processes of Surrealism.
Surrealism had a major impact on modern art and continues to be seen globally across creative fields including film, literature, graphic design, fashion, and visionary art. This is a testament to the freedom unleashed by Surrealism's initial mission whereby artists and writers may convey their own uniquely individual thoughts, feelings and innermost drives through creative means. It loosened the field of possibilities and promised perpetual fodder to mine.

Beginnings

Surrealist Sculpture Image

The Surrealist Movement and Ethos

Founder of Surrealism André Breton defined the movement as "psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express - verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner - the actual functioning of thought." Surrealist artists were heavily influenced by concepts found within psychoanalysis, particularly Sigmund Freud's theories that our repressed desires and fears oftentimes float to the surface through the subconscious temple of dreams or the unfettered creative flow of poetry and art. Surrealism claimed to be an invisible ray, which channeled the unconscious mind in order to unlock its imagination and to showcase its myriad taboos, complexities and similarities within man. This provided an arena where artists could forego conscious thought and embrace chance.

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Surrealist Sculpture Overview Continues

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols

" Movement Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols
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