Manifesto Surrealism

I have a fragment of the Surrealist Manifesto on my phone:

This spring I saw video artist Julian Rosenfeldt’s Manifesto at Hamburger Bahnhof Gallery in Berlin. It was an experience which made a great impact on me. It´s a film installation in twelve scenes; big screens, high production value, same actor in all scenes, each scene  describing a manifesto. The general structure of all scenes is that the main character (actress Kate Blanchett) act in everyday situations while she recites the powerful manifesto directly to the viewers. The text, from the different manifestos, is arranged in a new text collages, forming unexpected dialogues with each other. At the same time in each scene, Blanchett stands in an equal position in the frame, recites exactly same text. It was a very expressive and powerful experience.

Afterwards I went for a walk in Berlin, it was raining and I felt blown away by the strong words from the past in the modern contemporary staging. One of the manifestoes from the installation was Breton’s second Surrealist Manifesto and I coincidentally started record a video in front of that screen. It´s now stored on my phone ..

Source:
Manifesto / Julian Rosefeldt
ISBN: 978-3-86335-856-3

 

The mysterious suitcase and notes about Surrealism

 

Surrealism is a cultural movement which began in Europe in the early 1920s. The surrealists were inspired by Freud’s psychoanalysis and his work with the unconscious.
Karl Marx also inspired them: The liberation of the human being, as a basis for a classless society where everyone is equal.
Leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was, above all, a revolutionary movement.

The question of the medium was in the very beginning debated by the Parisian surrealists; many had the opinion that painting didn’t have the potential of psychological depth or socially subversive, which was the movement’s primary focus. The art of painting was a consciously controlling intellectual construction without the ability to express life in modern reality. For the Surrealistic project, the preferred media therefore were collage, film, photo and object-art.

Wilhelm Freddie and surrealism:
Wilhelm Freddie’s art mostly builds on the idea of collage; even in his painting and sculpture.
The gap between the various element creates the tension; the viewer is searching for a connection and meaning.
The human being is the focal point in WF’s art; the human body is the base for all kind of examination and reflection of human existence.
Wilhelm Freddie about his working method:
“I exclude reason and logic and reproduces only the things that the spiritual eye sees in our subconscious.
I seek to find an expression of the mystery that hangs over the lives and the enigmatic and strange, hanging over our everyday environment.”
Breton’s method:
Bring you into a passive or receptive condition – release control – open the canal for mental movements appearance that instantly recorded in writing or image.
Wilhelm Freddie about his paintings:
They are like a renaissance in terms of color, and so, surrealism is new content.

Reflection:
To be honest; I never really liked Surrealism: The first thing that comes to my mind is the famous picture “La Persistencia de la Memoria” by Salvador Dali which I know only from poor reproductions. I don’t like his painting style; it makes me feel seek and uncomfortable.But I have realized that surrealism is much more than that; the thoughts and ideas behind surrealism are inspiring and interesting.

Wilhelm Freddie and Breton both talks about being impulsive in the creating process. That surprises me because I found the surrealistic paintings very constructed and detail oriented in contrast to expressionism which is more “here and now” regarding the material and the object. But as I understand; the surrealist work with “the before,” they had a dream or a sight, something occurred in the subconscious, and that is what they want to express in an immediate way.

The collage idea/strategy and the conscious clash of elements make for me a connection to the montage form in motion pictures which Eisenstein represent (one plus one gives three).

I like the idea of translating collage not only to be on paper but the idea of bringing various elements together – that is workable for any kind of media.

When I read about the surrealism movement’s interest in the darkness of humanity, the instincts, and sexual urges, it came to me that the filmmaker David Lynch is using the surrealistic language in his film. Dreams often used as a storytelling element in his film as well as subconscious meanings and sexual undertones.

Finally, I found that WF was a great colorist, he didn’t had that much focus (as Dali) on symbolic objects and he worked with a more simple and graphic expression.

Sources:
Wikipedia
Wilhelm Freddie, Stik Gaflen i Øjet/ Staten Museeum for Kunst
ISBN 978-9200-28-5

More about the mysterious suitcase

Since the suitcase of the Danish, surrealist Wilhelm Freddie came into my home, lots of thoughts about Surrealism and WF came into my mind.
Another thing I have in my home is a extensive book about the artist. “Plug the fork in the eye” is the title of the book which is made in connection with an exhibition at National Gallery of Denmark in 2009. The strange thing is that I had never opened the book until now.
With a quick glimpse, the book shows a very diverse artist; sculpture, poetry, film, installation, theater, windows decoration, design, etc. It surprised me and made me more curious.
Wilhelm Freddie’s, life, and person, was an artistic project. His reputation was as a provocateur. He was arrested because of his art and he’s works were confiscated.

“[My art] is based on the theory that the subconscious instincts and the instincts are the only absolute and immutable in human existence.”
Wilhelm Freddie

My next step will be; to look at Wilhelm Freddie’s art with this quote in mind.

Mysterious suitcase

I found an old suitcase, in the garbage room where I’m living; the suitcase has belonged to a famous Danish surrealist painter. Now the suitcase is in my kitchen, like an odd object from the past; telling me that I have to investigate something about the former owner or the style of painting/art he represented.

John Akomfrah

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“Vertigo Sea” Video installation

For some month ago I went to Nikolaj Kunsthal for one reason; I wanted to see John Akomfrah’s art movie about the British culture theorist Stuart Hall.
I expected the movie to be artistic and inspiring. I wasn’t sure about the story or theme, but it was not a limited base that had attended my interest. I got the inspiration from two of my friends who had recommended me to see the movie a long time ago. One of them is a jazz musician and the other an art photographer, in light of their professions, I took their advice seriously, and I arrived Nikolaj with an open mind.

Nikolaj Kunsthal is a former church in the middle of the old part of Copenhagen. They are known for contemporary art exhibitions of different kind; installations, performances, painting, and video art.

John Akomfrah (1957 Accra, Ghana) London-based video artist /director is invited to show some of his most famous works. He is the principal artist for this exhibition.

When I read the text about John Akomfrah in the official brochure, I came across a new word which describes his style in general very well: Essayistic tableaux
I just had a conversation with Christina (a friend and rhetoric) about writing an essay, where we talked about the ability to use any personal experiences and thought to angle the content in an essay.
It makes me happy to discover that an essay can be visual, and that is what it is.

When I saw ” The Stuart Hall Project” the sound was a mesh in fact of the equipment and acoustics, so I didn’t get all the points from the speak, but, in the end, I had a perception of Stuart Hall’s life in pictures and music – very poetic.

John Akomfrah’s montage style allows him to jump in time, space and motives.
It is the sequence of the entire edited material combined with the sound that makes the spirit and magical moments.

The footage comes from different sources; private recording of Stuart Hall, recordings made by John Akomfrah and as a leading public intellectual in Britan for decades, BBC Archive had been helpfull with archive material with or about Stuart Hall.

http://www.nikolajkunsthal.dk/en/udstillinger/john-akomfrah-vertigo-sea