Art 3 – Surrealism and change of scale – Due Mon 3/18


Watch the two entertaining movie segments (from Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland). Look for ideas and notice the Surreal effects of change of scale and the emotional result of those distortions.

Shrinking and Growing Alice

Look at the following power point on the history of Surrealism and pay particular attention to the historic context.

History of Surrealism powerpoint

Comment on the similarities, and significance of the use of distortion and change of scale for entertainment, psychological effect, and the expression of cultural dis-ease.

Look at the following images as inspiration for your project and link to one you especially like and explain why  you like it.  If you can, tie it in to the context of your ideas expressed in your previous comments as meaningful on an entertaining, psychological, or cultural level.

Surrealist images


6 responses »

  1. I liked watching the movie clips (mostly because I like the movies) but I understand that we are supposed to create a project with scale change, and these movies show scale change. The powerpoint was interesting to me because I have always wanted to know what surrealism was, but I never understood. These kinds of distortions and scale changes can both entertain the viewer and send them a message. Most of the surrealist art in the 1920s it seems had a deeper meaning, usually about World War 1. Artists used these distortions to portray war in all of its twisted ways. This style, however, can also be used just to create a fun project. With scale change and strange figures, this style makes for an interesting art project. The second link posted linked me back to the surrealism powerpoint. Of the powerpoint though, my favorite artist was Salvador Dali and my favorite piece was The Metamorphosis of Narcissus. I assume this project has a deeper meaning (I have not studied it) but it is also really visually interesting. I hope to do something like this for my project.

    • Freud said that waht fascinated him about Dali was his conscious mind – not the subconscious – because he recognized how much labor and adjustment was involved in making Dali’s optical illusions. Dali called it the paranoic-critical method!

  2. The era in which surrealism developed was an era of change. Freud and World War I are listed in the PowerPoint. But I think there was a larger shift going on, a shift of technology, a shift of ability, a shift of mood. It was a time when the mood of the nation changed completely. With change comes dis-ease. Dis-ease, it seems, is one of the main characteristics of surrealist art. When I look at that art, I feel a sense of dis-ease; it’s almost disturbing. But it can be disturbing in a way that’s interesting and even fun.

    Both of the clips showed one aspect of surrealism: growing and shrinking. It feels weird for us to see something small that should be big or something big that should be small. It makes us think about things in a new way. It affects our psyche.

    My favorite of the images was on slide 33 of the PowerPoint. It’s a salt shaker shaking out a snowman. It relates to the whole idea of dis-ease. “What? A snowman? From a salt shaker? This shouldn’t be happening!” But that’s why I like it. Snow and salt look the same; both are white, both crystalline. It makes sense, and, at the same time, it makes nonsense!

  3. The movie clips were fun to watch (i haven’t seen them before) as it’s fun to see how the environment and space changes as the figures shrink. I think this focus as the world in a fantasy view-point, looking at in from a really small view, is fun to think about and makes my “surrealist mind” turn. I’m currently learning about Freud in Psych class and it’s really interesting how many of his theories relate to the new idea of surrealism, especially with dreams and the unconscious. I can easily relate to those ideas so i hope to integrate them into my piece. I really liked all the World War I posters, as they all had funky, almost-goofy drawings but with a dark meaning behind them. What I really like about surrealist paintings is the story behind it and the silly, dream-like explanation of whats going on. But I think that’s hard for me; giving a meaning behind my art. So when choosing my topic and what I want to include in my work, I’ll have to think of what those things mean to me as an artist and how i can use different shapes and sizes to make the viewer look at it differently.

  4. I like this project because it gives you the option to create something that has a message or with the specific intent to make the viewer feel uncomfortable, curious, etc, but like Sabrina said it’s also just a fun project. Watching the clips definitely gave me a feel for what the project is on (I was a little bit fuzzy) and I have an idea of what I’m going to do.
    I agree with Sabrina as well about the powerpoint because I didn’t understand surrealism either. Since we’re studying WW2 and the Great Depression right now in History I totally thought about how they liked going to movies because they were often either “better than real” (like the ppt said) or worse than their own life, both making them feel better. And applying that to art, they must have felt the same way. I don’t know, I thought it was cool I could connect art to other things I’m learning as well.
    Anyway, the images I liked. I wasn’t really sure about this, the last link led to the same site as the surrealism powerpoint so here are just a few I really liked.
    Obviously “Son of Man” which is featured in slide #13/38, “Carte Blanche” because you don’t see the surrealism at first on slide #23, and “Reversal of Natural Laws” because they’re ordinary businessmen but in such a… not ordinary way. Those are all by Rene Magritte too.

  5. I found it very interesting the connection that is made between size and distortion in space, and how this relates to surealism. I would personally not consider this the most advanced form of surealizm but it is still very visually compelling. I remember going through a stage in life once when I wondered what i was like being tall…So i would do dumb things and imagine what I would see and how I would feel if I was extroadinarily tall…I used to stand on chairs, and climb onto my roof and pretend that my legs reached all the way to the floor. A simple word as to why I like this surealist painting…. WTF…this describes my reaction…. I love it whenthere are paintings or drawings that make u feel disbelief…It could be bad, good, or nutural…but a strong reaction is key… This painting is a wtf reaction…

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