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Surrealism in Film and Photography

Surrealsim did not only introduce groundbreaking techniques in painting and graphic art, it also made for a new esthetic in film and photography.
Film was a medium of Surrealism as early as of 1924, as works by Man Ray, Francis Picabia and Marcel Duchamp are proof of. However, the main works of surrealist film are from Spain. "Un chien andalou" (An Andalusian Dog) by Luis Buńuel in cooperation with Salvador Dalí from 1929, counts among the most relevant works. A "poetry exempted from all traditions" was the declared goal of the "chien andalou", and the principle of "combinatorics" was also applied. Instead of a logic plot, the film uses an intented absurd montage of confusing sequences that have a shocking effect. The premiere of "chien andalou" was accompanied by music of Beethoven and Wagner, in order to increase the suggestive effect of the moving images. One year after "Un chien andalou" the film "L'Âge d'Or" (The Golden Age) followed, also made by Luis Buńuel and Salvador Dalí.
Besides film, the still young technique of photography was integrated into Surrealism as the first art tendency of Modernism - with Jacques-André Boiffard, a photographer even counted among the founding fathers of Parisian Surrealism. Madness, metamorphosis and fetish were the preferred topics of surrealist photography, that also made formal usage of "combinatorics". Man Ray, Eli Lotar, Claude Cahun, Brassaď, Raoul Ubac, Lee Miller and Dora Maar were main representatives of surrealist photography, with which painters such as Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Hans Bellmer were also experimenting. Thus photography also made major contributions to the esthetic positioning of Surrealism, with its medial openness it proved to have a pioneer function for later developments.


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