Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Quotes from 1964 book

Excerpts from sources relevant to my ideas:

Imaginative and Fantastic Art from The Observer's Book of Modern Art by William Gaunt 1964

The first Surrealist Manifesto in which this definition -

"Thought's dictation, free from any control by the reason, independent of any aesthetic or moral preoccuptaion."

appeared was issued in 1924.

[...] an active attempt to explore the workings of instinct and intuition and of states of being, as in dreams, when the concious reason is temporarily suspended. The Surrealists were much inspired by the researches of Freud into the psychology of dreams and by the idea of creating a semblance or illustraion of the dream state by placing in relation incongrous and unexpected images and inducing a like feeling of suspense and tension.

"All human action is expressive, a gesture is an intentionally expressive action. All art is expressive - of its author and of the situation in which the works - but some art is intended to move us through visual gestures that transmit, and perhaps give release to, emotions and emotionally charged messages. Such art is expressionist"

Art Historian Norbert Lynton describing Expressionist Art. Read the full article about German Expressionist films here.

Why am I studying German Expressionist films? You might ask. Well, whilst reading Dreamtelling by Piere Sorlin - which I got at the Psycho Buildings exhibition bookshop - see its all related, it mentions films from this period depicting dream sequences so I was interested to see how they interpreted dreams on screen. So far I've watched The Last Laugh (1924, Dir Murnau) and although the dream sequence was interesting; the bit I found fascinating was the documentary on how they achieved the special effects in the film (I'm such a geek!)
In that in the scenes in front of the hotel (where the lead character was a porter) the whole set was constructed as an optical illusion and in the frame some buildings are in the distance and the scene is made to look like a street in a big city but in fact, the cars in the background were miniature and driven by children! and the buildings tapered down to the size of models - incredible! Other scenes were also planned and constructed in this manner - amazing lengths to go to, to create the right atmosphere for the film obviously on a budget and before so many of the special effects available today were invented.

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