Freud and Surrealism: Art Mapping the Unconscious

Freud and Surrealism: Art Mapping the Unconscious

“Freud and Surrealism: Art Mapping the Unconscious”
Tue, Feb 25, 3–5pm
(2 consecutive lectures on the same topic)
Béa’s Studio
San Jorge 64
Colonia San Antonio
300 pesos per person
Please arrive early.

By Béa Aaronson, PhD.

I believe in the future resolution of these two states

which in appearance are so contradictory,

that of the dream and that of reality,

into a kind of absolute reality,

a surreality, if one may call it such.”—André Breton

Surrealism is not a “school,” or a style. It is not just another “ism,” or another chapter in the history of art. Like its mother, Dada, Surrealism is essentially a movement of the mind—the most intense verbal and visual revolution in the 20th century that unraveled the human mind and helped understand the mechanism of thought. Surrealism gives objective reality to our repressed desires, dream imagery, and the unconscious.

With Surrealism, we enter the separate kingdom of the mind and meet an alternative within life. Indeed, Surrealism challenges our conventional way of seeing and offers us another perception and understanding of life, death, and love. Confronting sexuality head-on, the Surrealists also freed the libido from its tabooed boundaries. This would not have been possible without Sigmund Freud.

Under a myriad of stylistic disguises and media realism, abstract expressionism, painting, sculpture, collage, poetry and object-poems, photography, and film, the surrealist activity is a tool to liberate, project, and concretize inner reality.

In rediscovering the power of dreams, the Romantics and the Symbolists paved the way. The Surrealists plunged themselves into automatism and paranoiac critical activity as a means to touch the fertile magma of the unconscious which came pouring out in automatic drawing, painting, and sculpture. Games like the Exquisite Corpse, both with drawing and writing, and new plastic arts processes like frottage (rubbing), decalcomania (transfer), umage (smoking), grattage (scraping), and coulage (pouring) became tools of the expression of the hidden powers of human creativity. Freed from rational control, psychic automatism attempted to record the stream of uninhibited verbal and visual imagery, while paranoiac critical activity reached the core energy of transformation and unleashed images capturing the fluid and mysterious world of multiple metamorphoses.

Come and discover the disquieting and at times violent iconography of the Surrealist creator, an iconography fueled by dream, imagination, and nurtured by erotic fantasy. In this first part of my Surrealist adventure, come and meet poets like Breton, Aragon, Éluard, Desnos, Crevel, and artists like de Chirico and Magritte. In part two next week, Tuesday, March 3, I will guide you through the imaginings of Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, Hans Bellmer, Salvador Dalí, André Masson, Frida Kahlo, Matta, Óscar Domínguez, Jean Cocteau, and Luis Buñuel, to name but a few. Be ready for a plunge into yourself!