Category Archives: Other Arts

Dream of countless doors

There isn’t really such a thing as American Surrealism, not in the way of the European movement with manifestoes, ideals and even political agendas. The American avantgarde of the 1930s and 1940s took inspiration from surrealism’s technique but freely used it and combined it with other styles, without going much into the original intensions of the European movement.

Recommended listening while reading this post:

 

Birthday is a self-portrait, the background based on Dorothea Tanning’s New York apartment. In Tanning’s own words: “a dream of countless doors”

Dorothea Tanning – Birthday –  1942

Oil on canvas: 40 1/4 x 25 1/2 in.

Dorothea Tanning meet famous German painter Max Ernst late in 1942, after he had escaped Gestapo and relocated to America, they married in 1946.

They would have 34 years together, at first in Sedona, rual Arizona. Their presence helped begin what would become an artists colony. From mid-1950’s they lived and worked in France.

Max Ernst died on April 1 1976. Dorothea returned to the United States in the late 1970s, still painting.

Dorothea Tanning – Maternity – 1946-47
Oil on canvas – 56 x 48 in.

 

The mid 50’s saw Dorothea Tanning leave her Surrealism, moving in a direction descriped as prismatic. Form this point she would paint in different styles over the years, also making sculpture and in her later life books and poems.

Dorothea Tanning: Woman Artist, Nude, Standing

1985-87 – Oil on canvas – 63 3/4 x 51 3/16 in

Her words on the subject:

Women artists.  There is no such thing—or person. It’s just as much a contradiction in terms as “man artist” or “elephant artist.”  You may be a woman and you may be an artist; but the one is a given and the other is you.

About the music: Edgard Varèse: Arcana (1925–1927).

Just as with American Surrealism, there are no Surrealist Music that could be compared to the other Surrealistic artforms literature, film and painting, but there are composers using some surrealist techniques and ideas.

Edgard Varèse’s Arcana was inspired, as Varése wrote in 1925 to his wife, by a dream sequence.

 

Dorothea Tanning: Valse bleue – 1954 – Oil on canvas
 
51 3/16 x 38 3/16 in
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Elk’s Head & Lion-Man

To me there is something very fascinating about pre-historic art, we can try to imagine those people living a very different life so very long ago, and what they were thinking when they were creating those often very beautiful works of art, but we will never know.

Recomended listning while reading this post :

The Elk’s Head of Huittinen
Sometimes called the Moose’s Head, was found south west Finland, the figurine is about 10 centimetre long, made of soapstone. Dated to 7000 to 6000 BC. The artwork belongs to what is called “Kunda Culture” of Stone Age hunter gatherers inhabiting the east part of the Baltic region, when the ice cap melted.

The head has a hole for mounting on a stick, so might be a sceptre-head used in a ritual context or carried by a shaman or tribe leader.

We can expect that there was some ritual or religious intentions, trying to control the harsh and dangerous environment surrounding them, but exactly who they were, why they did it and what was the expected effect, is impossible to know for sure.

The Löwenmensch figurine carved in mammoth-ivory is 31.1 cm tall, found in a cave in Baden-Württemberg southern Germany. Dated to being about 35,000 to 40,000 years old the sculpture is the oldest known example of figurative art.
Studies have shown, that creating a sculpture like this with stone age tools, would have taken something like 370 hours, this is at a point in history where life was short and dangerous. Must have been indescribable valuable to the owner.

The Lion-Man is infact more likely to be female, with head of a female cave lion.

Up until this post I have had a top-page about ”other art’s”, which i would sometimes change. From now on, I will mix those in with “music” posts as regular blog post, removing the page from the top. Could be posts about almost anything as long as I would personally consider it to be art.

About the music:

Sacred Spirit is a German electronic world music project led by Claus Zundel aka “The Fearsome Brave”, releasing a series of albums from 1995 to 2003. Mostly centered around Native American chants on top of chill ambient electronica and tribal inspired rhythms.