Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Surrealism Second Generation

I was writing a review of Katja Loher at ModernHouston.net and I began to think about Surrealism. Mostly because of her work, but also because I thought to myself that Surrealism never really had a second generation. Sure, magical realist painters have populated South American artists for quite some time. And maybe Surrealism has lived on in pockets, but it has not really came of age until video artists. Here is my observation in the article.

"It would seem many painters have almost abandoned Surrealism, whereas, more and more
video artists have been able to adapt and reframe the dream element in a fresh and often stunning way. After all, Abstract Expressionism had a second and third generation, if not
fourth. As well as Pop art and I can’t count how many generations of DADA have come out."

If you want to get technical, Surrealism was an out cropping of DADA, with a focus on the unconscious. But, Surrealism did define itself and evolve into Abstract Expressionism. However, it seems that where most painting movement continued in a second generation, (Impressionist, to Post-Impressionist to Fauvism) and (Cubism to Futurism), Surrealism didn't have anyone pick up the mantle until the video artists came along. Sure, there a were many artists that used fantasy or Magical Realism in their work, but fantasy and Surrealism is not the same thing.

Of course, this is likely a moot point all together, because we live in a Post-Post-Modern area where all the forms of Modernism are being refined, repeated, rehashed, redone, and ripped off. Maybe artists are only using forms and ideas of the past, but only making reference to past movements. Maybe movements in art has passed with movements of Modernism and Post-Modernism. Maybe I need to drop the labels and only talk about what clear influences the artist is using in her/his work. As much as I would like to do this, general terms help people to categorize an artist as generally having particular features. Labels helps to describe art, as long as you explain how the labels applies and doesn't apply. Am I over thinking this?

1 comment:

Troy Camplin said...

Is there a real difference between surrealism and postmodernism? Other than the pretense of "automatic"-whatever being dropped?