Beyond reality

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She walks unbridled, the more I feed her, the hungrier she gets. Imagination is never fulfilled. Ruminating, ruminating, in dreams she whispers. Dominating, she invades. I try to entertain her with tongue twisters. I prefer meat not well done. What are you saying? Everyone wants to give their opinión. Chew and swallow. Fearful and modest, I don’t want to see her. But she follows me like my own shadow; always there and in every place without needing to close my eyes, she displays savage and disrespectful. Rendered she deprives me of all honesty: “Child, I don’t want to see you more in black!” And then, I want to trap her in a small golden cage, those made to keep what we hear without digesting. You never knew how to walk light. Always with a thousand eyes, with bold hearing and a thousand words…sometimes despot, sometimes sincere, sometimes more real than our own existence.

Objects like amplifiers of our own subconscious

“Maybe the moment has come where imagination is close to exercising its corresponding rights. If in the depths of our spirit are hidden strange forces capable of amplifying those on the surface (…) it is in the best interest to capture those forces (…), summit them to the domain of our reason if this is appropriate”. (André Bretón, First Surrealist Manifesto,1924) 

From the french term surréalisme (sur, on top, and réalisme, realism) writer Guillaume Apollinaire in 1971 coined the word to name a transforming movement; poetic, artistic, graphic, plastic, photographic, and cinematic, generated at the same time as the psychoanalyst theories that provide entity  and give space to the notion of reality that accompany us in the unconscious.

After André Bretón officially presented the First Surrealist Manifesto in 1924, surrealism became an intellectual and political international movement, which members came from different disciplines. Poetry, writing, cinema, painting, music, and the world of design ruptured from the world of functionality. If before ideation prevailed, with surrealism liberation of those bonds and objects became the speaker of the unconscious, in a metaphor where the mundane is used to express the more profound.

Desired objects in CaixaForum

The exposition that we have been able to visit this year in CaixaForum Madrid “Objects of desire. Surrealism and design 1924-2021” invited the viewer to notice that design and mundane objects were a great source of inspiration and had a crucial role in the evolution of the surrealist movement. And vice versa, as surrealism liberated the design world from the slavery of functionality.

In the exhibit you could appreciate “parallelisms that have rarely been studied” being able to see in design from the last one hundred years that objects are created for its function, but also hide myths, dreams, and hidden obsessions, around the surreal. A journey around paintings, sculptures, collection items, posters, magazines, books and photographs, as well as historical movies, from Gae Aulenti, Björk, Claude Cahun, Achille Castiglioni, Giorgio de Chirico, Le Corbusier, Salvador Dalí, Isamu Noguchi or Meret Oppenheim, amongst others.

And is that as the dialogue between surrealism and design continues to be present, we search reality that emerges behind the visible, creating objects that break from customs and abandon the conventional and mundane, disconcerting us with a innovative stranger, deviating our vision from the form of objects to its underlying messages. Objects never seen…

Photography: Óscar Rivilla

Música: Electrophorus

Translation: Covadonga López-Fanjul

Art Direction: Óscar Rivilla and Carolina Verd

Hair&Makeup: Alba Glance for Guerlain


Picture 2 and 4: black dress by Bash

Picture 3: black dress by Anna Sui

Back drop, mouths, ears and eyes made by Carolina Verd

Special thanks to : Alfredo Velasco