Surrealism in female key


This article aims to pay homage to and publicize the life work of some women who made the surrealist cause their own; and actively contributed to the development of the movement. The article presents a collection of artists from different fields: a painter, a photographer, a muse, and a patron. From the set of painters, I have selected two artists from Catalonia and one from the region of Galicia. Unfortunately, the name of these creators has often been diminished and pushed into the background in favor of their fellow men.

surrealism, women painters, magic realism, psychoanalysis

Àngels Santos Torrella (1911-2013), painter
Maruja Mallo (1902-1995), painter
Remedios Varo (1908-1963), painter
Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979), patron and gallery owner
Nadja (1902 – 1941), muse
Dora Maar (1907-1997), photographer

[Automatic translation from Catalan]:

Surrealism is one of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century. It comprises painting, sculpture, literature, poetry, cinema… It is based on the discovery of the unconscious as a creative source. André Breton endorsed the Freudian postulates. Freud discovers the unconscious dimension, which has a decisive influence on our actions and thoughts; in addition to the conscious side, there is another reality that seeks to manifest itself. André Breton recommended that the artist leave the mind blank and seek inspiration in mental automation, in the association of words and images. Surrealist works offer the viewer some compositions that reflect a reality that goes beyond what we can objectively share.

Almost a century later, the term surrealism, in its adjective aspect, is integrated into our daily speech. It is used as a synonym for something devoid of logic, irrational, outlandish, comic or bizarre.

André Breton laid the foundations of the movement in 1924 with the publication of the First Manifesto, a compendium in which the theoretical foundations are laid. At the time, it was a transgressive, anti-academic ideology, because it sought to carry out a social transformation by freeing the subject from repressions that impeded dreamy, sexual, and spontaneous imagination. Despite his ideology, many of his followers were still bourgeois, with the façade of rebels.

Woman and Surrealism

Ideologically, surrealists valued equality between men and women, praised love, but in reality, she was considered more as an artistic object: woman, girl, or muse.

In the text published in the presentation of the exhibition in Malaga1, emphasis is placed on how they took the approaches of surrealism, how they were the protagonists of a real revolution: […]

M. Mercè Collell
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