Rick Poynor | Essays

Slicing Open the Surrealist Eyeball

Jindrich Styrsky, from the series The Movable Cabinet, collage, 1934

Cultural critic Mark Dery, author of the forthcoming essay collection I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts and biographer of Edward Gorey, has interviewed me on the subject of Surrealism for Thought Catalog.

An extract:

Mark Dery
 What does it mean to live as a Surrealist? To say, with complete ingenuousness, that you’re a Surrealist over a half a century after the death of Surrealism’s “pope,” André Breton; after Dalí turned the Revolution of the Mind into a one-man brand, long before Warhol, Kostabi, and Koons elevated self-marketing to an art form; after MTV reduced it to an empty signifier? What does Surrealism have to teach us, early in the 21st century? What “profoundly important things” does Surrealism still have to say to the modern world, or the post-postmodern world? As important, what daily affirmations does it offer you, as a true believer?

Rick Poynor
 My fascination began with the visual art of Surrealism and this has always been its bedrock. When I look at Surrealist art, it still delivers its mysterious psychic shocks. Surrealism codified a poetic principle that has always existed as a possibility and still exists in life and art “after Surrealism.” “There is another world,” said Paul Éluard, “but it is in this one.” This, for me, is a guiding principle — the illuminating essence of the Surrealist revelation. I’m deeply attracted to the fantastic, the strange, the marvelous, the nameless, the uncanny, but not in the flimsy, escapist sense of fantasy otherworlds remote from our own. I’m searching for the fantastic, the unaccountable, in the tangible world, in ordinary experience and everyday life, the moments when something unexpected but deeply thrilling is suddenly manifest. The mystery is here if we would but see it.

Continue reading the interview on Thought Catalog

The interview is also online at 21C Magazine

See also:

Surrealism and Design, Part 1: Dark Tools of Desire
Surrealism and Design, Part 2: Documents of the Marvellous
The Complex Bonds Between Design and Surrealism

On My Shelf: Surrealism Permanent Revelation
Surrealism in the Pre-School Years 

Posted in: Arts + Culture, Graphic Design

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