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Acte Download. PDF L'oeil. PDF Manifestement radical! PDF Martinslied op. PDF Men of style ePub. PDF Mes suds Download. PDF Mon beau clair de lune claro de luna partition pour le chant Download. PDF Sei notti di mistero Download. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica Supplementum ePub. Berufstheorie Livre en allemand ePub. Clooney Download. Banerjee D. Bardhan P. Bodet C. Boyer R. Bhushan C. Candland C. Capelli P. Chakravarti S. Crane A. Dutta A. Gendron C. Hay C. Jessop B. Kochanek S. Weiss and Allan Stoekl, who are much more interested in and engaged with the thought of Bataille than with that of Breton or any of the other surrealists, and who rely on Hollier for their own assessment of surrealist thought.

The dismissal of Breton was repeated rather uncritically in many articles in the late s and early '90s, so it is refreshing to see Krauss, Foster and Hollier returning to or continuing in Krauss' case a critical engagement with the work of the surrealist movement itself. This occurs even where attention is once again focused on the ideas and activities of the surrealist group, as in Hal Foster's Compulsive Beauty.

In Compulsive Beauty, Foster establishes a Lacanian-inflected psychoanalytic reading of surrealism that runs counter to some of the movement's own claims. His reading 1 7 The terms "Icarian idealists" and "base materialism" are first found in a previously unpublished article that Tel Quel brought to light in , "La 'vieille taupe' et le prefixe sur dans les mots surhomme et surrealiste" Oeuvres completes, t. II: Ecrits posthumes [Paris: Gallimard, ], pp. The article had been intended for Bifur, a journal that, like Bataille's own Documents, was hostile to surrealism and vice versa.

However, Bifur ceased publication in June , before Bataille's article could appear. As its title indicates, the article is critical of Nietzsche as well as of surrealism, before Bataille was really marked by the influence of the German thinker. Liesl Oilman, October, no. These mostly date from the years immediately following the Second World War, when Bataille was engaged in an intensive reassessment of the movement and its thought. Bataille contributed a brief text from which Richardson's collection takes its title to the catalogue of the surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Maeght, and the surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Daniel Cordier explicitly took its theme from Bataille's recent book Erotisme.

It is Foster's view that many of surrealism's key concepts, such as 'the marvelous', 'convulsive beauty', and 'objective chance', are related to a recognition of the familiar made strange, that is, to an intimation of the death drive that the surrealists resist in their preference for love, beauty and reconciliation. Bataille and Roger Caillois are his counter-examples of those who do accept and embrace such a "desublimation", through their notions of the informe and mimicry.

Foster writes: It is at this point where sublimation confronts desublimation that surrealism breaks down, and I mean this literally: such is the stake of the split between official Bretonian and dissident Bataillean factions circa Although both groups recognize the uncanny power of desublimation, the Bretonian surrealists resist it, while the Bataillean surrealists elaborate it - especially, I want to suggest, along the line of its imbrication with the death drive.

Foster is acknowledging here the distinction Freud makes in his later writings between an inherently unruly sexuality and its sublimated form in the notion of Eros, the latter of which is essential for both love and civilization. Jean Laplanche describes the difference in his Life and Death in Psychoanalysis: Eros is what seeks to maintain, preserve, and even augment the cohesion and the synthetic tendency of living beings and of psychical life. Whereas, ever since the beginnings of psychoanalysis, sexuality was in its essence hostile to binding - a principle of "un-binding" or unfettering Entbindung which could be bound only through the intervention of the ego - what appears with Eros is the bound and binding form of sexuality, brought to light by the discovery of narcissism.

It is that form of sexuality, cathecting its object, attached to a form, which henceforth will sustain the ego and life itself, as well as any specific form of sublimation. Jean Laplanche, Life and Death in Psychoanalysis , trans.

Aidan Russell

M y own understanding of desublimation, however, is substantially different, and this is the point at which my interpretation departs from those of Krauss and Foster. Both Krauss and Foster take a primarily psychoanalytic view of surrealism in their recent books although Foster also attempts to understand the possibilities for a social critique offered by surrealism, in reading it through Benjamin.

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In The Optical Unconscious, Krauss rereads desire after Lacan not as an inexhaustible flow of sexual energy, but as a universal effect of psychical trauma. While Foster refers primarily to Freud in his reinterpretation of surrealism, he shares this Lacanian understanding of desire with Krauss. It is one in which any possible reconciliation achieved through desire, such as was envisioned by the surrealists, has been successfully deconstructed apres la lettre.

While I do not wish to dispute the conclusions reached by Foster and Krauss as to the possibility or impossibility of the surrealist project, I would like to note the way in which their approach has resulted in a symptomatic reading of many of the images in both books. Their psychoanalytic reading of surrealist imagery can and does achieve an extraordinary insight, but it tends to elide the images' intertextual relation with other imagery and other discourses.

In Krauss and Foster's recent analyses, specific aesthetic issues, such as the conflicted relation between surrealism and modernism, tend to drop out of their discussion, to be replaced by the psychoanalytic. In The Optical Unconscious, this involves a reading away from form to address what, Krauss proposes, underlies both surrealism and modernism, the "optical unconscious" of her title which would, in surrealism's case, involve the psyche's "automatic" response to signs generated in the imaginary order: "an automatic 16 motor turning over in the very field of the visual.

Rather than the generation of something new, an unprecedented image or metaphor, the readymade is that to which the artist or poet responds, a recognition of the familiar made strange through repression: "automatism's relation to the visual not as a strange conflation of objects, and thus the creation of new images, but as a function of the structure of vision and its ceaseless return to the already-known. Krauss proposes not a critical relation of one to the other, through which surrealism bears the very condition of its possibility in an antagonistic relation to modernism, but offers surrealism instead as "the total refusal of the modernist alternative 2 5", seeing the readymade as completely other to the modernist blank surface, as a matrix rather than an empty potential.

Breton and Ernst himself both viewed Ernst's 'overpaintings' as a form of collage, in terms of method i f not of technique "ce n'est pas la colle qui fait le collage 2 6". The association of elements did not depend upon a particular technique, but rather upon a poetic approach apprehended through the example provided by cubist, then dada collage. In my understanding, the practice of collage, discovered by the cubists, allowed Pierre Reverdy to 2 2Rosalind E.

It is not a question here of returning to an unproblematic notion of intentionality, but of recognizing the significance of the aesthetic discourses within which and against which a surrealist strategy was conceived. Krauss' psychoanalytic reading of Ernst's work is often brilliant, and offers for the first time, along with Foster's contemporary work, a cogent and coherent approach to surrealist iconography.

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But I disagree with her attempt to replace collage with the readymade, which makes an understanding of surrealism's relation to modernism impossible. Foster does see surrealism as a "counter-modernism", rather than as a "total refusal of the modernist alternative". He does not develop this, however, choosing to focus instead on surrealism's resistance to the death drive, as well as on its possibilities for a social critique.

For in my view, it is desublimation that is the project of the objects and indeed of all forms of surrealist imagery, in their insistence on an explicit sexual dimension, and in their critical relation to other forms of art which includes a negation of formal considerations. One of the significant differences between the surrealists and Bataille, up to at least, is that the surrealists sought to delay an immediate merging of art and life - while in principle supporting such a merger - whereas Bataille, coincident with the end of Documents, wished to bring art to an end in the present, replacing it at most with perversion.

Although the two series of Documents are 18 which was articulated especially in the pages of La Critique sociale; one consequence of this was his own suppression of his novel Le Bleu du ciel, which was written in but not published until It is the difference, in fact, between a dialectical and an anti-dialectical strategy: the contesting of bourgeois culture from within, versus its pulling down and elimination from without, by what Bataille imagines to be the hairy and inculte proletariat.

He recognizes that the possibility for a surrealist social critique depends upon its inscription within the social world it contests, but does not extend that perception to surrealism's ambivalent relations with art and literature, to see in the immanency of those relations the very possibility of critique.

This is in spite of the fact that he acknowledges the desublimating strategies of Ernst and Hans Bellmer, who were both part of the "Bretonian" surrealist group rather than of any dissident faction. Surrealist explorations of chance, dreams, derives, and the like can confront the mechanical-commodified world only because they are already inscribed within it: only from there can this world be detourne. Foster, op. I raise Adorno here since it is to his essay "Looking Back on Surrealism" that Krauss and Foster refer, in taking the possibility of reading surrealism beyond its self-understanding.

Thus "convulsive beauty", one of Breton's central categories of experience, is not simply another form of beauty, as Foster would have it p. In conceiving of this beauty "envisagee exclusivement a des fins passionnelles 3 2", Breton is explicitly engaging with beauty as a form of sublimation, and attempting to return it to the erotic, perhaps through Freud's perception of such an origin in his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality: There is to my mind no doubt that the concept of 'beautiful' has its roots in sexual excitation and that its original meaning was 'sexually stimulating'.

This is related to the fact that we never regard the genitals themselves, the sight of which produces the strongest sexual excitation, as really 'beautiful'. To this end, Breton, Ernst and Da l i all read what is the prototypical surrealist image - Lautreamont's "beau comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine a coudre et d'un parapluie" - as a sexual image, a reading that could be thought reductive, since it limits the image to a single interpretation, but which performs precisely this function of returning aesthetics to its sexual origins.

II, ed. Marguerite Bonnet Paris: Gallimard, , p. Angela Richards Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, , p. The passage quoted here was a footnote added in Richard Miller, October no. Breton discusses sublimation in such terms at several points in his writings: in the Second Manifesto, in the essay "Le Merveilleux contre le mystere", and, most provocatively, in his section of the pamphlet issued to accompany the screening of L'Age d'or in , where it is explicitly a question of interrogating, and even overturning, sublimated beauty and its correlative, the work of art: Ce serait peut-etre trop peu demander aux artistes d'aujourd'hui que de s'en tenir a la constatation, d'ailleurs geniale, que l'energie sublimee couvant en eux continuera a les livrer, pieds et poings lies, a l'ordre de choses existant et ne fera, a travers eux, d'autres victimes qu'eux-memes.

II est, pensons-nous, de leur devoir le plus elementaire, de soumettre l'activite qui resulte pour eux de cette sublimation, d'origine mysterieuse, a une critique aigue et de ne reculer devant aucune outrance apparente, des lors qu ' i l s'agit avant tout de desserrer le baillon [which beauty is, in the introduction to the pamphlet] dont nous parlions. Se livrer avec tout le cynisme que cette entreprise comporte au depistement en soi et a 1'affirmation de toutes les tendances cachees dont la resultante artistique n'est qu'un aspect assez frivole doit, non seulement leur etre permis mais encore etre exige d'eux.

There is a profound suspicion of sublimation's movement away from sexuality towards beauty, while beauty is described as a gag that must be loosened. It is loosened through the attention one pays to the phenomenon one is experiencing, i. II, op. Breton's contribution to this pamphlet, "LTnstinct sexuel et l'instinct de mort", was originally anonymous, like all the written contributions. Such a strategy is, as ever in surrealism, an action against other, more consciously crafted and finished works of art, the "desublimation of sublimation" rather than a purely positive expression.

The notion of a convulsive beauty can only be understood in this context, for this sexualized notion of beauty is itself conceived of as a loosening of the gag. Here, however, at a highly political moment for surrealism, it is not simply a question of regression, but also of research as the necessary dialectical complement of that return. While my knowledge of, confidence in, and use of psychoanalysis is not as thorough-going as that of Krauss and Foster, I do employ it in a number of ways in my dissertation, recognizing not least its importance to the surrealists and to many other French intellectuals in the s.

The notion of sublimation, as it is reworked from Freud, is, obviously, one of the ways in which I use psychoanalysis in this work. Another involves a discussion of the way in which Freud conceptualizes the relations between perception and mental representation, which Breton takes up in his reconceptualization and defence of automatism in the s. This wi l l be discussed at more than one point in the dissertation, and need not detain us here. There is a third, metaphorical way in which I am going to use psychoanalysis, which wil l require some explanation.

The return to "the sources of imagination" in the first Manifesto of Surrealism is premised on the identification, in The Interpretation of Dreams, of poetic thought and dream-thoughts: We call it 'regression' when in a dream an idea is turned back into the sensory image from which it was originally derived.. In regression the fabric of the dream-thoughts is resolved into its raw material? James Strachey Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, , p. Different in kind from more 'advanced' modes of thought, a poetic thought cannot be put to use, say Breton, Tzara or Cahun; in an occasional or directed poetry, poetry as such vanishes.

In this regression to an earlier mode of thought, there is a refusal of professionalization, of the metier, and thus of the place that is being prepared for the surrealists within the institutions of art. If the majority of surrealists do eventually take up their assigned places in art and literature, what is interesting is that they come to develop a method that, at least theoretically, precludes the mastery considered necessary to be thought of as a professional artist or writer.

This is, socially, the refusal to arrive, to accept one's place in society, and the rewards and distinctions that go along with it. It can also be understood, psychically, as the refusal or, more correctly, as the disavowal of castration, which involves a troubling or blurring of sexual difference that I want to think of as a strategy through which bourgeois culture and society were resisted at the same time as it was one of which the surrealists were not fully in control. For Freud, it is the recognition of the possibility of castration that, for the male child, sets into motion the resolution of the Oedipus complex.

Its successful outcome depends upon his giving up his mother as his love object, accepting his father's sovereignty, and emulating him in his search for another love object to take his mother's place. Joan Riviere, in Freud, On Sexuality, op. Freud acknowledges, however, that this process is rarely if ever fully completed, with neurosis as the consequence of an unsuccessful or incomplete resolution.

The scenario of the Oedipus complex is described differently by Lacan, and the entry into what he calls the symbolic order is located earlier in the development of the human being. In the linguistic turn taken by Lacanian psychoanalysis, need is split from demand at the point of the acquisition of language, which bars the subject forever from the fulfillment of his or her desire: "we must bring everything back to the function of the cut in discourse, the strongest being that which acts as a bar between the signifier and the signified.

In the opacity of language, in its very difference from what it, as a system, purports to represent, is born the impossibility of the fulfillment of desire; this plenitude is represented paradoxically by the phallus that no one has, but that everyone wants. Alan Sheridan New York: W. Lacan parts ways with surrealism at this point, despite his association with the movement in the s. Or: "The castration he [Lacan] is referring to is not, of course, a real castration; it is, rather, a symbol marking the precise place where the function of sexuality and language link.

It is the loss of something, the loss of wholeness we all must endure to take our places in a system of sexual difference. And: " Lacan's description of castration is, of course, metaphorical, displacing the Oedipus complex from the social structure of the family to the linguistic code. I too wish to use this notion metaphorically, in order to think about the possible relations between the refusal to arrive and the refusal of castration, and the troubling of sexual difference that is a consequence of this refusal.

As Kaja Silverman writes, in terms pertinent to the present discussion: Saying "no" to power necessarily implies achieving some kind of reconciliation with these structuring terms [of "castration, alterity and specularity"], and hence with femininity. It means, in other words, the collapse of that system of fortification whereby sexual difference is secured, a system dependent upon projection, disavowal and fetishism 4 3 While surrealism continues to be preoccupied with projection, disavowal and fetishism in its texts and imagery, this is so precisely, I think, to the degree that it remains at the point of its entry into the symbolic order of art, hesitating between art and politics.

Because it remains at that threshold, sexual difference becomes a problem, as the surrealists situate themselves both outside and inside the culture they criticize: both at the margins, unable or unwilling to accept a professional status, and at the vanguard of an art that ceases to be such, in its supersession. In the first instance, we have a refusal of professional status in automatism's very passivity, its abjuring of mastery in the transcription of "dictated thought", and its insistence 4 2 Lacan, op.

In this sense, automatism is an undoing of the logic and forms of bourgeois culture, threatening it with the loss of the distinctions upon which any society is based. Such distinctions include, first and foremost, that of sexual difference; the unravelling of form is related to gender, especially as it is pitted against the various modernisms committed to reconstruction and modernization in the postwar period of the "Rappel a Tordre". There is of course a positive moment in automatism as well, the valorization of a poetic mode of thought; what I am choosing to emphasize here, however, is this negative moment of undoing.

The surrealists were not fully conscious of the troubling of gender involved in this strategy, although there are plenty of indications of a liminal awareness of the implications of their position, which I wi l l explore more fully in my final two chapters. As a physical object, it bears a more active relation to the social and phenomenal world than the automatic text was capable of.

A t the same time, it too involves a troubling of gender distinctions in its strategy of refusal, which I w i l l explore at 4 4 I am not alone in this interpretation; Andreas Huyssen, Susan Suleiman and Hal Foster have all remarked on it, although the analysis has nowhere been fully developed. For all three critics, the self-identification of the avant-garde as feminine in relation to the masculine dominant culture is problematic; it often elided the question of the participation of women in its activities, and it too often repeated uncritically the misogyny of the patriarchal culture to which it was opposed.

Such an identification is, of course, a 19th-century strategy, dating back to Baudelaire and beyond, and very much in the line of the 'counter-tradition' with which surrealism identified itself, and which it helped to construct. To the extent that there was an equal place for women in the surrealist group, it was at the point at which surrealism positioned itself in principle in terms of equality and the ruination of talent, i.

It was in these activities that women participated in surrealism in significant numbers for the first time, as non-professionals. This relegates them to the margins of the historical reception of surrealism - unlike their male counterparts, who only imagined themselves there. Ai With the following significant difference, however: I understand surrealism as having sought a delay in the reconciliation of art and life, while maintaining in principle the necessity for art's supersession.

This distinguishes the surrealists from the Soviet futurists and constructivists, with whom they otherwise shared many affinities. Although I by no means agree with the whole of Richard Wol in ' s assessment of surrealism in the following passage, it does help to make sense of the way in which autonomy continued to play a role in surrealist strategies: In place of these ["naively affirmative works of art for art's sake"], surrealism attempts to substitute de-aestheticized works: i. Yet, this intra-aesthetic transformation of the nature of art does not lead to a result where-in the aesthetic quality of art would be dissolved in favour of its pragmatic aspect - a dissolution that bespeaks the type of transformation implicit in the formula, "sublation of art in the domain of life-praxis.

Burger distinguishes two moments within modernism: those of autonomy - a Vart pour Vart expression which insists on the separation of art and life - and an avant-gardism that recognizes the limitations of the earlier position, and calls for an overcoming of the separation that had been consciously achieved in modernism's earlier moment.

On this basis, Schulte-Sasse then proposes a categorical difference between avant-garde and modernism, a distinction often and mistakenly attributed to Burger himself. Although he was not fully aware of all the developments in the Soviet Union, Breton criticized the self-liquidation of the Soviet avant-garde as premature, in his book Les Vases communicants; for Breton, a critical distance must still be preserved between artist and regime, even a revolutionary one.

There is no question of an "allegiance to the modern ideal of art", however, at least in the period with which this dissertation is concerned. It is rather a question of the reconceptualization of the limited forms of art as research that is at issue in the s, and art as such goes unmentioned, or is mentioned with scorn, in most surrealist texts of the period. Art only reassumes its value for the surrealists in the late s, with the end of their dream of art's overcoming.

This coincides with the restoration of conservative values in Stalinist Russia: a renewed emphasis on family and patrie, a continued emphasis on the value of labour, and a return to traditional categories of art and literature after the demise of the avant-garde. Although revolution continues to be advocated in principle until the war, in the Federation Internationale des Artistes Revolutionnaires Independants F.

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There is one more issue I wish to raise, before proceeding to the first chapter. In the course of writing this dissertation, I have come to realize how much surrealism owes to an Hegelian understanding of art. Such an understanding must have been absorbed from the surrealists' predecessors prior to their own first readings of Hegel in the s, since it is present in the first theorizations of a surrealist position. Many of the differences between modernism and the avant-garde can in fact be understood through the distinction established between an Hegelian and a Kantian conception of art.

For Hegel, the Absolute Spirit becomes increasingly manifest in romantic art at the expense of its material form, to the point at which art, which is a material expression of the spiritual, one day ceases or wi l l cease to exist. The avant-garde movement that wishes to supersede art's autonomy in a sublation of art into life is philosophically different in kind from an art that proceeds to the purification of its own categories; this difference is already born in 18th-Century aesthetics, and helps to provide an understanding of the differences between avant-garde and modernism, especially where a consciously Hegelian movement like surrealism is concerned.

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In , Breton noted the difference between a philosophy that moves from abstract to concrete, i. Just as the surrealists attempt to Hegelianize Freud, in order to make his thought dialectical, so do they develop Hegel's thought through Freud in another direction. If both romantic art and surrealism turn to an inner consciousness, the surrealists invest this interiority with desire, favouring the individual unconscious at the expense of the Absolute Spirit. Hegel's Idea is refashioned as poetic thought, which is identified with dreams and automatism rather than with the indwelling of God in each individual consciousness.

Automatism is indeed an expression of content that, in principle, dispenses with formal considerations, and a pure expression of interiority: it is Hegelian in its movement but not necessarily in its content, since it is the expression of a thought that is at the same time fully sensual. Once having ceased to desire the end of art, surrealism faced a crisis, for it did not have any formal reason for siding with specialization and the category. Surrealism at its most 'formal' - in Miro ' s washy, seemingly unfinished paintings of the mids, in Giacometti's re-orientation to the base in his sculptures of the early s, or in the collage principle at work in the objects - was always so in contention with the modernism of its day, to the extent that the latter was concerned with the renovation of form and the perpetuation of categories.

Surrealist artists used some of the formal discoveries and implications of modernism to undercut modern art, in an antagonistic intertextual relation through which much of its own best work was realized. Once the antagonism ended, once for historical reasons the project of supersession was no longer sustainable, surrealism became subcultural, a more purely positive exploration of poetic thought, and no longer an avant-garde.


On the one hand, as part of its effort to preserve the modern spirit from the threat posed to it by fascism and Stalinism, surrealism allowed and even encouraged relations with 30 American artists during the war; in this way, it renewed and perpetuated the categories it had once attempted to negate. On the other, it itself drops out of history, since it no longer bears a properly historical relation to the development of art in the modern period. When modernism ceases to be challenged, surrealism in a certain sense ceases to be modern.

This is the misfortune of its career in the postwar period, apart from a brief intervention into the debate on abstraction. The figurative artworks and the tales of the s and '60s still bear an alchemical relation to transformation which remains an occulted goal of surrealism , but no longer to other, contemporary expressions of art or literature. In this sense, I think that the condition of surrealism's historical relevance is the very relation it bore to modern art, in its attempt to supersede it and replace it with something else.

Which is why, in my opinion, it is important to grasp and make sense of that relation. It should be evident by now that this dissertation is concerned with more than the surrealist object taken as a positive category. It is, in the final analysis, an attempt to think through the surrealists' efforts to sustain an avant-garde project in an extremely difficult period. The objects nevertheless retain a privileged place in my study, as the leading instance in the visual media of that effort, and as a locus around which much of the surrealists' thought coalesced during the period of their invention and circulation.

There are times when the dissertation strays from a focus on the object, for instance in the analysis in Chapter 2 of the cultural politics that helped determine surrealist strategies in the early s, or my discussion in Chapter 3 of the surrealists' reconceptualization of their activities as research. These discussions bear on the object, but do not necessarily concern it directly; for it is the place and function of the object within an economy of thought that really concerns me here.

The objects exemplify a position that the surrealists struggled to maintain through much of the s; when that position shifted, the objects were displaced from the centre of surrealist activity and reflection, and were soon enough displaced from the critical reception of surrealism. It is their resituation within a larger history of the 31 surrealist avant-garde that I wish to effect here, in locating them, once again, in the terrains vagues between modern art and revolutionary politics.

The rejection of form with the transformation of content. For modernism provided certain essential concepts for surrealism, at the same time as it furnished a model against which the surrealists were able to articulate their own position.

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In the following pages, I wi l l trace a passage from the proto-surrealist Louis Aragon and Andre Breton's initial enthusiasm for modern art and literature, to a break by means of dada and automatism with the rationalized and constructive variant of modernism in the postwar period, to the development of an avant-garde position.

I wi l l also describe what surrealism owed to modernism, its debt to the cubist innovation of collage, which was taken over and revalued in the surrealist theory of the image. For it was not simply a rejection of modernist aesthetics that was at issue here, but their sublation in another practice that was itself oriented around the theory and practice of collage.

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Having established these conflicting relations between modernism and surrealism, I wi l l then describe the invention of the surrealist object as a physical sign of the avant-garde status of the surrealist group, one that would locate the surrealists "au-dela de la peinture" to use M a x Ernst's phrase , while providing an example of what a thinking beyond the categories of art would involve.

Such a strategy necessarily involves a contention with and an appropriation from the field with which one is making a difference, and it is in this antithetical relation that the principle of collage retains its importance, especially in its revaluation from realist metonym in cubist collage to surrealist metaphor in automatic prose or in the object. Although the surrealist object was intended to represent a 33 supersession of the separation of art and life through a desublimation of the purity of modern art particularly in the I'artpour I'art form it took in the period of reconstruction following the First World War , it was also dependent on that very separation in order to contest it, developing the principle of collage from its modernist origins in cubism in a new, three-dimensional form that was deliberately anti-formal and anti-aesthetic.

Before moving on to the political determinations and consequences of the break with modernism, I want finally to examine a number of the early, objects in extenso, in order to draw out both their relation to modernism and their difference from it - particularly in their resexualization of what had become an idealized, constructive modernist practice in the postwar years, and certainly one that was no longer oppositional. There is a malaise apparent in many of these objects that is, as we shall see, both personal and political, but that is also inscribed into the very difficulty of the objects, their opacity or estrangement.

In this way the surrealist objects depend on separation in order to facilitate their critique, at the same time as they anticipate reconciliation through the "rapprochement of distant realities" that is the hallmark of the surrealist image. From this understanding, we can proceed to a discussion of the object's place in a complex strategy designed to guarantee the surrealists' status as an avant-garde in alliance with the Parti Communiste Francais - in other words, the political component of the object's suspension between art and politics.

In Le Surrealisme et la Peinture, he describes a break with perception in both the art and the literature preceding surrealism: Si Lautreamont, Rimbaud et Mallarme, dans le domaine poetique, ont ete les premiers a douer l'esprit humain de ce qui lui faisait tellement defaut: je veux dire d'un veritable isolant grace auquel cet esprit, se trouvant idealement abstrait de tout, commence a s'eprendre de sa vie propre oil Tatteint et le desirable ne s'excluent plus 34 et pretend des lors soumettre a une censure permanente, de l'espece la plus rigoureuse, ce qui jusque-la le contraignait What Breton offers here is a synthesis of Hegel, Freud, and his knowledge of nineteenth-century poetry, in which art, having excluded the external, is free to concentrate on what Freud called the pleasure principle, at the expense of the reality principle.

If for literature, it was a case of an intrinsic development of poetry leading to this turning inward, in art it was a technical development, the invention of photography, that led to a crisis of representation, whose expression took different forms in the work of the cubists and of de Chirico. Cubism and the invention of collage are in this conception a turning point for art, the point at which art turns from a representation of the visible world to an expression of internal consciousness. This change is achieved first through the invention of collage, then through its transvaluation from metonymy to metaphor; from the substitution of a fragment of external matter for its representation in a cubist painting, to the independent existence of an image created through the juxtaposition of collaged elements in, for example, Ernst's early 'collages'.

From now on, Breton wrote in , regression to an earlier stage of the imitation of an external object became impossible, and it was the representation of an interior model that became the concern of art: E n art, la recherche necessairement de plus en plus systematique de ces sensations travaille a 1'abolition du moi dans le soi, s'efforce par suite de faire predominer de plus en plus nettement le principe du plaisir sur le principe de realite. This comes from the first section of the book, initially published in La Revolution surrealiste no.

Although Breton is concerned with the internal life of the mind here, the censor he envisages is not the psychoanalytic one of an agency preventing disturbing thoughts from becoming conscious; it is, rather, a liberating agency that would proscribe and dismantle the "famille, patrie, societe" of traditional morality, which are named a little further on in the passage.

The possibility of that supersession does not lead in this logic to the perfection of the work of art as in the Kantian teleology envisaged in formalist criticism , but to the possibility of the pure expression of the unconscious in art. Such an expression is not so much a goal to be achieved though it always remains an aim , as a measure of difference with works of art more consciously determined: the self-sufficient work of art, against which the casual and unfinished works of surrealism are posed.

During their service as medical interns in World War I, the youthful Aragon and Breton registered their non-conformity by means of modern art and literature. In , reproductions of modem artworks were pinned up on the walls of the Val-de-Grace hospital in Paris, at the same time as the two young poets were discovering Lautreamont.