The surrealist object was on my mind recently because I have been following Sky Arts series “Landscape Artist of the Year”. I have not watched the final yet, so, please, no spoilers, if you, too, are keen on the show.
There have not been any surrealist paintings per se so far (well, none that I would call “orthodox surrealism”, which in itself would be an oxymoron, since surrealism was a mould-breaking movement). There have been a few “surprises”, though. This is where the “lobster” comes into the picture (pun almost intended). When it comes to landscaping, we expect the finished work on the canvas to match the view in front of it. In the semi-final, the view contestants had to work on was Tower Bridge. Two of them, however, did away with conventions and came up with bizarre but highly creative pieces. Their risk-taking approach was all the odder when one takes into account that Tower Bridge has been one of London’s most easily recognisable landmarks for almost a century and a half.
|This is not a lobster|
This is what art did for so many centuries. It created reality-based patterns that were easily recognisable. Familiarity won over risk-taking. Impressionism, Dadaism, surrealism and modernism brought new challenges to the game, not just for practitioners, but also for us, art lovers. Suddenly, a pipe was not a pipe and a urinal could be displayed in an art gallery. Back to Sky Arts’ “Landscape Artist of the Year” and what I have enjoyed the most is how contestants have been given free rein to “ruin” a perfect view. I am joking, of course, for all works have been, in my humble opinion, of the highest quality. Yet, a few have defied convention and their owners are the ones who have been rewarded with a place in the final and the opportunity of a ten-thousand-pound commission from the National Trust. Reminds me of that lobster somewhat and the role of crustaceans in the development of visual arts in human history.
Next Post: “Urban Diary”, to be published on Wednesday 2nd December at 6pm (GMT)