Pearls from Artists* # 313August 15, 2018
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Proclaiming that the object in Surrealism was fundamental, [Andre] Breton suggests a radical transition in surrealist creation, one that liberated the poet-artist from all constraints in the making of the artistic object. Breton’s text calls for a “revolution of the object,” suggesting that in the placing of an object into a new context, and thus attributing it with a new meaning – also called a “detournement” – which takes precedence. Drawing in his interpretation of Hegelian subject-object relations, Breton describes the “object” as a work of art that relies on a philosophical procedure, affirming the surrealist process as one that is realized in the experience of apprehending the object through a dialectical method. Citing the work of Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst, Breton explains that an object may become a product of surrealist creation through the simple “manipulation” of it. Here ”manipulation“ is defined as a procedure which reveals the object in its original and new state at the same time. If taking an object out of its original context and placing it in a new space creates the potential for a creative act, then this text seems to validate the surrealist practice of collecting. As the collector acquired objects and unites them in a gallery or a home, they assume new significance contingent upon their physical juxtaposition to other objects.
Moon Dancers: Yup’ik Masks and the Surrealists, edited by Jennifer Field, Introduction by Christina Rudofsky
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