In the image-driven web world most of us frequent today—Tumblr, Flickr, and Pinterest, for example — we are bombarded with images that beg us to look twice. It’s relatively easy to create a yellow zebra with blue stripes, if that’s what suits your fancy. Masterful digital imaging can bring us whatever level of Surrealism you may desire — if you can imagine it, it can be done with pixel manipulation.
For artists not
working in digital media — those who cut, build, draw, paint, glue, bend, and make things in the more traditional manner — there is something of a “Surrealist” popularity at hand today. Though most of these artists would probably not think of themselves as “Surrealists” (in the pure context of the definition)—the idea of recontextualization is something they obviously enjoy.
Beginning with three early 20th century pieces of this genre, works by Meret Oppenheim, Man Ray and Salvadore Dali, I have gathered work by a number of contemporary artists working today in a manner that might make the original Surrealist masters smile. Artist: Meret Oppenheim (Swiss, 1913–1985), Paris 1936
Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon;
Cup 4 3/8" (10.9 cm) in diameter; saucer 9 3/8" (23.7 cm) in diameter; spoon 8" (20.2 cm) long, overall height 2 7/8" (7.3 cm) Artist: Man Ray, Cadeau, iron and nails, 1921, edited replica 1972, Tate Modern Artist: Salvadore Dali, Lobster Telephone; 1936. © Tate
Plastic, painted plaster and mixed media; 178 x 330 x 178 mm Artist: Vincent Olinet; Title: After the Waves, synthetic hairs, broomsticks, photo Marc Geneix; In collaboration with Sookoon Ang. Artist: Michelle Lopez, Brooklyn, NY; Title: Boy; leather covered Honda 600, 1999. Artist: Howard Jones, St. Louis, MO; Title: Thorn Brush, 2011. Artist: Brock Davis, Broccoli House Artist: Suzy Lelievre, 2011, Acier thermolaqué. Dimensions variables. Vue à la Fondation Bullukian, Lyon.
Artist: Suzy Lelievre, 2011, Hêtre massif, 2 tables, chacune 68 x 74 x 74 cm. Artist: Suzy Lelievre, 2012, Table d’appoint en bois laqué, Édition limitée Artist: Suzy Lelievre, 2004, Pâte alimentaire déshydratée. Artist: Yoab Capote, Erección, 2002, wood, 52 x 210 x 105 cms Artist: Yoan Capote, Nostalgia, 2004; Suitcase, bricks and cement, 85 x 54 x 35 cms Artist: Alice Jung, Seoul. Glass Hammer; form of hammer cast in glass.
Erwina Ziomkowska, Untitled (heels), 2011 Artist: Brad Downey, Hamburg Artists: Mark Reigelman, Jenny Chapman’s, Manifest Destiny Artist: Jack Maxwell, Limited edition tent Artist: Magnus Gjoen, ceramic Artist: Alana Noritake, Brain Hat (knitting pattern)