The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas focuses on the subject of modern European and American intellectuals’ obsession with the “New World.” This obsession—the very heart of Surrealism—extended not only to North American sites, but also to Latin America, the Caribbean, and to the numerous indigenous cultures located there. The journal invites essays that examine aspects of the actual and fantasized travel of these European and American intellectuals throughout the Americas, and their creative response to indigenous art and culture, including their anthropological and collecting activities, and their interpretations of the various geographic, political, and cultural landscapes of the Americas. We furthermore intend to investigate the interventions / negotiations / repudiations of European/American or other Surrealisms, by indigenous as well as other artists, writers and filmmakers. Original publication is available at: Journal of Surrealism and the Americas

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"Napoleon in the Wilderness: The Transmogrification of a Picture by Max Ernst"

Description

An emperor, a writer and an artist. Even though their stories played out in completely different epochs and under completely disparate conditions, they are united by historical analogy. The trans-epochal

An emperor, a writer and an artist. Even though their stories played out in completely different epochs and under completely disparate conditions, they are united by historical analogy. The trans-epochal cross-fading of their biographies visualizes how Napoleon, Victor Hugo and Max Ernst were forced into exile by the caesuras of history and by the new rulers in their native countries. They experienced this as a kind of wilderness, as être d’ailleurs. In the pictorial understanding of the three protagonists, the crossing of the water as well as the wild rock by the sea, mark their dislodgment from, but also their longing for the lost homeland. They are symbols of dislocation respectively identification. At the center of this narrative we find the painting Napoleon in the Wilderness (1941, MoMA, New York) by Max Ernst, in which the painter comes to terms with a long wait, a dramatic passage, his arrival on foreign soil and his love affairs. His statement that he had already begun with the picture before his departure in France and, after his arrival, came to a new solution of the picture by turning it 180°, metaphorically describes not only the artistic new beginning on the other side of the Ocean, but also marks the turning point in his life.

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Seeing Through an (American) Temperament: Max Ernst’s Microbes, 1946-1953

Description

While he was living in Arizona between 1946 and 1951, Max Ernst created at least 70 tiny gouache paintings that he called “microbes.” They range in size from a half-inch

While he was living in Arizona between 1946 and 1951, Max Ernst created at least 70 tiny gouache paintings that he called “microbes.” They range in size from a half-inch on one side to over five inches, with most between one and three inches. Many evoke fantastical landscapes while others appear completely abstract. Ernst’s interest in this series of work was sustained: he made these paintings over a period of five years, and they were exhibited regularly during his own lifetime. Today, however, the microbes are virtually unknown. Because of their relative obscurity within Ernst’s oeuvre, this essay outlines their production and early exhibition and reception, with special attention to Sept microbes vus à travers un tempérament (Seven microbes seen through a temperament). This book, comprised of life-size reproductions of 31 microbes and a poem by Ernst, positions the microbes as a distinctly surrealist, subjective interpretation of the American Southwest. The essay then contextualizes the microbes within the wider contemporary American art world and suggests that Ernst made these diminutive paintings in dialogue with the paintings of the Abstract Expressionists as those artists were rising to prominence in the wake of World War II.

Giorgio de Chirico, the First Surrealist in Mexico?

Description

The historiography of the arrival of Surrealism in Mexico has focused mainly on the personalities of André Breton, Antonin Artaud, César Moro and Wolfgang Paalen, specifically about the latter's time

The historiography of the arrival of Surrealism in Mexico has focused mainly on the personalities of André Breton, Antonin Artaud, César Moro and Wolfgang Paalen, specifically about the latter's time in Mexico and the controversy caused by the 1940 “Surrealist International Exhibition” at the Mexican Art Gallery. However, the first contacts with a painting described as surrealist—by both critics and the Mexican painters themselves—were made with the canvases of Giorgio de Chirico in the late 1920s, although by then the Italian master had distanced himself from the French movement. The connection with de Chirico was established primarily in the approach of Mexican artists who were in Europe at the beginning of the 1920s. This coincided with the movement of a return to order in the development of Mexican Muralism. Later, around 1928, a new generation of Mexican painters, who sought not to imitate Rivera's narrative work, found a source for the development of a figurative painting in de Chirico's enigmatic landscapes that would account for Mexico as a tragic country, wrapped in a fantastic, almost magical, atmosphere.

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Arizona Dream: Maxime Rossi Meets Max Ernst

Description

This essay analyses the 22:40 minute video Real Estate Astrology (2015) of Maxime Rossi (born in 1980), a contemporary artist's response to the life and work of the German born

This essay analyses the 22:40 minute video Real Estate Astrology (2015) of Maxime Rossi (born in 1980), a contemporary artist's response to the life and work of the German born surrealist Max Ernst. Rossi sets out in this vide, produced in the color filter technique of anaglyph projection, to search for Ernst’s traces in Sedona, Arizona. The surrealist artist lived here in exile together with his wife, the American painter Dorothea Tanning, from 1946 to 1953. Maxime Rossi shows a predilection for historical artists, whose works he uses as a point of departure in his work, in which historical facts and fiction are inextricably overlapping. In Sedona, Rossi goes to the places Max Ernst is said by locals Rossi has met several times to have visited: a hut where the surrealist is said to have spent the night from time to time, a stick that is said to have belonged to him, a cave with prehistoric mural paintings that he is said to have seen. Eventually, Ernst’s horoscope is said to have predestined a particularly fertile time for him in Arizona. But as we will see, all the tracks prove to be intentionally misplaced traces that confront the viewer with a hallucinatory world that mixes the real with the unreal, historical facts with the fictitious. What ultimately results is a hybrid whole that incorporates different sources and materials and oscillates between the banal and the fantastical, and between fiction and reality. And in doing so, he follows surrealist esthetics and strategies of alienation as we find them especially in Ernst’s collage works. A trans-epochal dialogue between the historical conditions of Ernst’s exile on the one hand, and the actual present on the other, runs through Real Estate Astrology, giving us two periods within the unit of the video.