MODERNITY & AFTER
Using the example of the representation of women, critically analyse the role played by photography in the Surrealist movement. How did the work produced by men differ from that of female artists/photographers?
At the turn of the 20. Century, a trend to an arrestingly and massive change was looming, which influenced not just the history, but all subsequent attitudes and mindsets in our society nowadays. Dada and the ensuing Surrealism are seen as an important and influential coherence for all consecutively epochs between politics and art in modernity. Especially the question of gender and its implications was a fundamental headstone in art. Two relevant, closely linked events are essential for the question discussed here:
First, the invention of photography between 1826-35 (Nièpce, Daguerre, Talbot) and the incidental first 35 mm camera in 1924 by Leica, and second, the base for the new definition of society and lifestyle the First World War from 1914-1918 including the Mexico politic affairs and Paris (Europe) in a postwar situation. Influencing the female role in society, Surrealism arose at the end of the First World War in Paris as a literary movement. It was initialised by young, angry writer and poets, which not only created a new poetry but - with a revolutionary verve - wanted to change the world. Until the end of the 1920's, Surrealism was predominantly a matter of men. Indeed, in the Breton- group of surrealists, which was the core of origin of Surrealism, a woman was seen as muse, mannequin, fancy lady, wife and secretary - however as an artist she had no chance to impress the men. Only as phantasm: as a 'figure of dream' and object of fetishism she could enter the surreal cosmos. But those creatures had nothing in common with real women. It lasted that the 1930's until female authors, painters, sculptors and photographers started fighting for their place in the surrealist community (Hille, 2011). Surrealism was embossed by...