Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue
Sculpture and the Surrealist Object
The course will deal with works by Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Picasso, Breton, Dali, Giacometti, Miro, Eileen Agar, Meret Oppenheim, Valentine Hugo, Bellmer, and others and will involve examining the writings of Breton, Dali, and Bataille. The ambiguity of the surrealist object's intended status, opens up questions about the nature and function of 'conventional' sculpture and its position relative to the ideal surrealist object. The presentation of objects in the periodicals associated with the movement only adds to the rich confusion about their precise status in a fashion oddly reminiscent of much post-war art. There are questions concerning success or failure too since, perhaps more than any other of its manifestation, the object at once epitomises the surrealist enterprise while casting doubt on it. How should the erotic and/or revolutionary claims made on behalf of the object be assessed? The query prompts investigations of the movement's relationship with Freudian psychoanalysis and its affiliation to the communist party, together with the significance of the various defections and expulsions which ensued over ideology. Since the Seventies, Surrealism has been 'rediscovered' in more than one context: part of the course will examine the ambivalent position of women within Surrealism; part will assess the relevance of the oppositional writing of one-time surrealists like Georges Bataille and Michel Leiris which have opened up a critical reading of Surrealist practice in the articles and books produced by Rosalind Krauss and Hal Foster.
Form of teaching
Form of assessment
Assessed Essay. (Essays should be 6,000 words maximum, including all bibliographies, footnotes and appendices)
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