Surrealism/ Mat Maitland

Surrealism 

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"Art and life could be regenerated by liberating the subconscious mind.

Traditional Western culture had no more to offer the world and that a clean break needed to be made.

Surrealism would not offer a new and easier means of expression, nor was it to be a metaphysical kind of poetry; it would be a means to the total liberation of the mind and of everything that resembled it.

Ephemeral rubbish pictures

Surrealists were an eclectic group without a common style of painting and united only in turning to their subconscious for inspiration.

The new art would express the hidden desires and wishes of all the people with the innocence of childhood and would therefore be easily accessible to everyone.

Painting pictures of recognizable objects, though these were sometimes distorted and place in unusual situations."

Taken from The Art of Surrealists by Edmund Swinglehurst

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"The image is a pure creation of the spirit. It cannot be born of any comparison, but only of bringing together two more or less distant realities. The more the interconnections between the juxtaposed realities are both distant and 'correct', the stronger the image will be - and the greater its emotional power and poetic reality.

When we bring two opposite poles together in whatever fortuitous way, a special light is sparked- the light of the image to which we are infinitely sensitive. The value of the image depends on the beauty of the spark; it is, therefore, the function of the difference in potential between two conductors. When this difference scarcely exists, as in this simile, no speak is produced. "

Taken from Ernst, Miró, and the surrealists by Crispolti 

 

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The Uncertainty of the Poet 1913 

Giorgio de Chirico

Chirico's main purpose was to breakthrough the art movement of cubism. He painted the female torso and bananas serving the purpose visually that the painting is more accessible than abstract paintings at a time. In the collage experimentation, I could explore with random tangible objects, bringing them together in the same work, making the unrelated subjects become related through my work. I could perhaps putting images of clock and scarand place them in the most bizarre location like in a sink or refrigerator. 

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Object, Wilhelm Freddie

Figures at the Seashore, Pablo Picasso 1931

Theater II, Frantisek Muzika 1944

These are other surrealist examples that I was also inspired by. Often times that I see surrealists using body as a part of their subject matter. Bodies are distorted. Parts of body are separated and are connected to other objects which could be seen as metaphor or just for the visual sake. Usually the backgrounds are quite simple because the foreground objects are quite busy enough with unusual objects on the unusual location. I think what's interesting is that in Muzak's piece, there's sense of another dimension through the crack on the background. It suggests the world the dreamy world the artist is portraying and that there's still another dimension of fantasy waiting to be explore behind.

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Perpetual Motion 1934

Rene Magritte

Magritte shocked the audience by obliging them to re-think their thoughts by the unexpected juxtaposition of the objects. The man's head is a part of the weight he's lifting. His body somehow makes me think it's female body at some point.The pool of water supposes to suggest the man's potential for thought. The main inspiration in this painting for me is the unusual choices of the subjects. It's something I would never thought about like how the shape of the weight is a man's head, and this is what I think would attract the audience for my final outcome exhibition. Inventing a new way of representing fashion under the interaction theme I've set about is the element I need to explore further.

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"Borowczyk's animation is extremely complex. He uses a range of different elements: drawing, photographs, animated figures, inanimate objects, picture postcards, are combined to create a kind of animated photomontage, or even a film that is itself an object. He was exploring entropy. Beginning with an empty screen, an explosion gives access to a room that seems to have suffered from the effects of fire, or perhaps it is merely the effect of age on the old photograph, a memory of a lost past. From a pile of rubbish, different elements take shape: a stuffed owl, a trumpet, a picture, a table, books, the penal code, a prayer book. The trumpet celebrates and other objects form, notable an alarm clock.which becomes attached to a hand grenade which even tally explodes and returns everything to rubble.

Described thus, the film may seem overly schematic; in fact it is anything but. Working as a compelling depiction of the emergence of order from disorder and the inevitability of its collapse, it reflects Borowczyk's worldview, in which the instability of things and the fundamental perversity of the human will to impose order on nature combine to create tragedies that cannot be contained."

Taken from Surrealism and Cinema by Michael Richardson

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Mat Maitland

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"Mat Maitland's contemporary surrealist derived images and films are instantly recognizable and memorable. His work is full of enthralling pop complexities referring to fashion, vintage magazines, music, painting, and films. His rich textures and multi-layered compositions combine to form enchanting and magnetic images."

Taken from here

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I found Maitland's work really caught my attention. The colour, the texture, and the unexpected imagery makes me want to explore these images more and more. It's obvious that these images don't make sense, and that's why they make me want to look at each section (object) separately and observe why and how these objects are where they are. Maitland has used digital manipulation process by collaging them in pattern or overlay against each other. This is why photoshop is offers a different feel in comparison to manual collage, which the opacity of how each layers interact with each other cannot be adjusted. Internet is an unlimited resource, meaning that which ever object I want to put into my work, I can just google it, unlike found images on printed media; what you find is what you get. Maitland also painted digitally, probably using drawing pad, in some of his work above. The images look really vivid because the paint brush in photoshop allows brush strokes to be bold in colour. Visually, these images are striking, but it makes me wonder about the texture of collage if it was done manually because everything here is done on the screen, a flat dimension work, whereas, how papers are being glued or attached together in the traditional way of collage is also interesting because it shows the work process behind each part is put together. 

Anyhow, I really like Maitland has introduced digital fashion collage. His style is surrealism but is also almost like a pop art with the use of colour. I'd like to adopt his style into my third experiment of collaging in which I would be printing out photos I took and collaging them with found pages on magazine.

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Dragonfly with red wings chasing a serpent which skips away in a spiral towards the Comet 1951

Joan Miro

This painting perhaps can also be considered as an abstract piece if not with the very specific title. Milo's use of line is playful and organic in a more refined version of a child's doodle. The contrast between light brown background, primary colours on the figures, and black lines really caught my attention. I could be doing some illustration using Miro's style of lines or figure to add the playfulness to the photograph I take in prior. It could be a part of a model is interaction with another part of her body through the draw of lines. Or even in collage, there's no restriction that I can only stick random pictures together, as I could also do some physical drawing on the piece to add the texture as well.

 

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Fashion & Surrealism

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George Platt Lynes, photograph of Salvador Dali 1939

The unusual combination with naked model and a live lobster is so unexpected, and is probably why it's a surrealist photography. Surrealists often used live animal cooperated into their work. There's probably a reason behind each animal but for me, I think the use of animal really bring something fresh to the viewers. A model poses in front of a studio white backdrop can sometimes be boring, but by bringing something unique like wild animal into the scene can make so much different. I could be editing animals into any images I've created or photographed in this project to add the element of unusualness of surrealism.

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Gene Moore, Three Window Displays, 1953

A.M. Cassandre, Cover for Harper's Bazaar 1938

Surrealists associated a lot of eyes into their work. I think because they were trying to express tell the audience to 'look', look into the dreamy world surrealists have visualized and experience the subconscious mind with them. The association of eyes are shown in above work. Moore created the scenes within the pupil of the eye as if he wanted the audience to understand the story like a third person through the person's eyes' perspective. For my project, I could be bringing the image of eyes in to make it obvious that the outcome I will be creating is inspired by surrealism movement.

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Salvador Dali, Cover of Vogue, 1939

Shoji Ueda, Formal Wear by Takeo Kikuchi for Men's Bigi, 1983-84

I've observed that in surrealism, the identity of a person is often hidden. Like shown above, Dali had covered the head of his figures with flowers and changes another figure's head into tree branches. Similarly, Ueda painted/collage the face of a man leaving the eye and the mouth. These figures can still be recognized as human but it's quite mysterious to not know what the faces underneath the cover are like. Perhaps in dreams, it's rarely that we're able to recognize the faces of people we dreamt, and so surrealists incorporate other objects to describe the identity instead.

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