The detritus of reason: Surrealism, photography and the everyday
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Surrealism is one of the most widely practiced and reviewed art movements of the twentieth century. This thesis will consider the ways in which Surrealism is understood historically and examine Surrealism's connection to earlier instances in culture as a form of primitive Surrealism. Surrealism found inspiration from the past as much as from its contextual present, and its legacy is expressed in its writings and cemented in its actions. The Surrealist use of photography to promote a subversion of the realist frame as part of this expression, is indicative of the movement. This thesis will consider the ways in which photography served the Surrealist Revolution ideologically, which is best evidenced in the coercion of visibility and invisibility. Therefore, the Surrealist use of the camera, and the connotative elements of its photographs, are not limited to Surrealist photography alone. These attributes are in fact intrinsic to the medium of photography and can be found in photographs produced outside Surrealism's oeuvre, irrespective of the context from which such photographs originate. From this point, the connections between Surrealist ideologies and self-portrait photography as a model for Surrealist socio-political agendas will be explored. Self-portrait photography is an actualisation of Surrealist idealism for art practices. This practice affects the psychology of the image-maker in a manner that can be aligned to psychotherapy. Lastly, as Surrealist ideologies contain socio-political rhetoric, the potential for Surrealism and photography to coexist and be 'at large' in contemporary culture is widespread. The rhetoric of this can be observed in the cultural theory of Marxism, particularly in recent critical perspectives on the Everyday. Photography and Surrealism preside as a form of cultural praxis in contemporary culture.
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