Feature Articles

January 2011

Anastasia & Friends in Columbia, SC, Offers Exhibit Based on Surrealism

Anastasia & Friends art gallery, located in the front of the Free Times’ building on Main Street in Columbia, SC, will present the exhibit, The Surreal Show, on view from Jan. 5 through Feb. 23, 2012. A reception will be held on Jan. 5, from 6-9pm during Columbia’s Main Street’s First Thursday. The reception will include a performance art by Alternacirque and Dr. G. Fredric Mau.

The Surreal Show will feature sculpture, paintings, mixed media, photography and textiles by Natalie Brown, Anastasia Chernoff, Janice Dittmar, Nathan Fiveash, Libby Gamble, Michelle Rogers, Kirill Simin, Lyra Stephens and Lindsay Wiggins.

Surrealism is a movement in art and literature which began in the 1920’s that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, characterized by the evocative juxtaposition of incongruous images in order to include unconscious and dream elements.

The word surrealist was created by Guillaume Apollinaire and breathed into existence in the preface to his play, Les Mamelles de Tiresias (The Breasts of Tiresias), which was first performed in 1917.

During World War I, many artists who were living in Paris scattered and became involved with Dada, believing that excessive rational thought and bourgeois values created the war. The Dadaists protested with anti-art gatherings, performances, writings and art works. Back in Paris, Andre Breton, who trained in medicine and psychiatry and served in a hospital where he used Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic methods with soldiers suffering from the effects of the war, joined in Dada activities. Breton began to experiment with automatic writing (spontaneously writing without censoring thoughts) and published the writings and accounts of dreams in a magazine.

Freud’s work with free association, dream analysis, and the unconscious was of utmost importance to the Surrealists in developing methods to free imagination. Besides the use of dream analysis, they emphasized that one could combine elements not normally found together to produce illogical and startling effects. The more extreme the relationship between the two contrasted realities is, the stronger the image will be -- the greater its emotional power and poetic reality.

In 1924, Breton declared the philosophy that defined the purpose of the group in the Surrealist Manifesto. Breton defined Surrealism as “pure psychic automatism by which one proposes to express, either verbally, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thoughts. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.” The Surrealists aimed to revolutionize human experience, in its personal, cultural, social, and political aspects. They wanted to free people from false rationality, and restrictive customs and structures.

For further information check our SC Commercial Gallery listing, contact Anastasia Chernoff at 803/665-6902 or e-mail to (stasia1825@aol.com).


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