Sunday, April 13, 2014

S'urreal, s'alright

Okay, from the library I've got something of a doorstopper book on surrealism.  It's got a notable quote from Andre Breton, via his "Lachet Tout!" essay, translated as "Leave Everything!"

Leave everything.  Leave Dada.  Leave your wife.  Leave your mistress.  Leave your hopes and fears.  Leave your children in the woods.  Leave the substance for the shadow.  Leave your easy life, leave what you are given for the future.  Set off on the roads.

Salvador Dali, Two Elephants

First of all, gotta love the supposition that the reader will have to leave both his wife and his mistress.  Presenting France, where adultery is customary, much like tipping.

Also noted is how the further Breton goes on, the more he echoes Christ talking to his Apostles.  Talk about stealing from the best!

Kay Sage, No Passing

Surrealist techniques are a mixed bag, but as such they command attention.  If the point is to shut down the rational mind, that doesn't quite work for me, not in my own process.  I work best when I get both halves of my brain in on the action.  Still, in a group setting, this can be potent stuff.  The exquisite corpse is a very interesting technique.


susan said...

The admonition to leave everything has a long history - even further back than Christ - as it is a basic premise of Hinduism and Buddhism too.

Surrealism done well has the ability to shock us out of our preconceptions. Even if the effect is only momentary it's still beneficial. I liked the exquisite corpse experiment but it's an exercise that requires a group to manifest something so interesting.

Ben said...

That's true too. The exact nature of what's being left may change - and even there, you see broad similarities - but the act of setting out remains constant.

Seeing things anew is always good and exciting. It may be why the Creator made more than one of us.