Synopses & Reviews
Beautiful as the chance meeting of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table is the most famous formulation of the Surrealist effect, penned by the Comte de Lautreamont in the 1860s and adopted as a rallying cry by Andre Breton at the inception of the Surrealist movement. Lautreamont's vivid simile lent itself both to poetry and to visual art, and the Surrealist artists were quick to grasp that an entirely new kind of sculpture could be made from such potent combinations of commonplace objects. Duchamp's Dada-era objects, Freud's theories of the fetish, the uncanny and sexual symbolism and the popularity in Europe of African votive objects supplied further stimulus, and soon Breton, Man Ray, Salvador Dali and even Picasso had populated this infant genre with a whole slew of disquieting (and sometimes fun) inventions--May Ray's 1920 Cadeau (a clothes iron with tacks attached) and Dali's 1936 lobster telephone are two instantly recognizable examples. Younger recruits to the Surrealist cause, such as Hans Bellmer, Isamu Noguchi and Meret Oppenheim developed the possibilities of the genre even further, and Oppenheim's 1936 Fur Cup must be today the supreme instance of the Surrealist object. Surreal Objects is the first publication to exclusively address the Surrealist object. Surveying works by over 50 artists and writers--among them such familiar names as Breton, Dali, Duchamp, Magritte, Man Ray and Picasso, and less-known artists such as Antoni Clave, Leo Dohmen, Wilhelm Freddie and Conroy Maddox--it provides a definitive treatment of one of Surrealism's most characteristic yet neglected themes.