André Breton: author of the Surrealist Manifesto #DigLit

What is Surrealism? “Pure psychic automatism, by which it is intended to express, verbally, in writing, or by other means, the true function of thought-thought dictated in the absence of all control exercised by reason and outside all esthetic or moral preoccupations.” This was the definition given by André Breton when he wrote his first Surrealist Manifesto.

Where did this idea come from? Surrealist artists, most notably André Breton were part of a movement called Dadaism. Dadaists were avant-gardes-artists who wished to break away from the European Academy of Fine Art (they decided what was art and what wasn’t).  Avant-garde artists were tired of being told what was art and what wasn’t so they made their own art and told the Academy to go to hell (pardon my language). Dadaist artists wished to create art that was the pure essence of art. This idea over a short time fizzled out because the pure essence of art to them eventually meant no art at all. That is when Surrealists were born. They wished to create art that was the pure essence of art by tapping into their subconscious and bring forth art that was pure psychic automatism. It was art that was created with no restrictions simply the free-flowing thoughts of the mind.

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André Breton was born in Normandy, France and went to medical school to study mental illnesses. When World War I broke out he went to work in the military psychiatric wards. After the war Breton became interested in Freud and his dream analysis theories. Breton wanted to apply this theory when writing poetry. Breton himself was first and foremost a poet. André Breton first began his experiments with his dream-state with a friend Philippe Soupault. They locked themselves in a dark room and tried creating a dream like state from which they wrote whatever came to them. It was a form of stream of consciousness. The writings from these experiments were collected, published as Les Champs Magnétiques (The Magnetic Fields) and became known as the first Surrealist text.

André Breton wished to mesh the lines between the waking consciousness and the dreaming consciousness. André Breton and his group of artists were in fact mostly poets and focused their time on texts not paintings. In 1925 André Breton began writing essays about modern artists who he deemed Surrealists. He also noted some surrealism in earlier painters such as Goya. He also discovered artist Giorgio de Chirico “who was to Surrealist painting what Lautréamont[*] had been to Surrealist poetry” (Tomkins).

 

*Lautréamont wrote Les Chants de Maladoror. A book of poetry which contained remarkable ideas coming from a wild imagination. Breton discovered this work and made it mandatory reading for all members of the Surrealist group.

 

 

Works Cited:

Tomkins, C. (1966). The world of Marcel Duchamp. New York: Time-Life Books.

Sources:

B. (n.d.). André Breton Biography. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.biography.com/people/andré-breton-37471#synopsis

André Breton Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.theartstory.org/artist-breton-andre.htm

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Dear Rainbow Rowell #YA Lit

Dear Rainbow Rowell,

A few short months ago I read Eleanor and Park and to a girl who has always questioned what people see in her to make them like her this was simply the best book to read. I formed a bond with Eleanor and her struggle to understand Park’s love for her because can it really be that simple?

While I would love to spend my entire blog talking about Eleanor and Park (another day) I wish to tell you why I wanted to cry when I read the first chapter of Fan Girl.

I want to cry because I am Cath. I am the girl who would rather hide in her room than face a cafeteria full of people she doesn’t know. I struggle with anxiety. It’s more than just thinking about the future, classes, paying bills, no it is an everyday struggle. When I walk into a room full of people all I see is a thousand eyes staring at me whether they are or not and most of the time they aren’t. It is being fearful of every action you make and then thinking about what you did wrong for hours afterwards. It is telling people you have too much homework to do because you are too scared to go out and meet new people. I am the quite girl in the corner because I cannot hear beyond the beating of my own heart.

I was that scared little freshman desperately trying to fit in, but finding myself hiding in my dorm room alone. Classes were my saving grace because without them I don’t think I could have made myself leave my room. It was my safety net and it was slowly killing me. I found myself wandering down a path I promised myself I would never return to and I knew I needed a change. I moved out of the dorms at Christmas break and started fresh spring semester. I made new friends and worked on controlling my anxiety.

Not that the anxiety has dramatically improved. I transferred this last semester to CSC and the whole way from home to my new dorm I felt like my heart was being squeezed and my stomach was going to churn until I had to throw up. I was so exhausted from being nervous, scared, and anxious all day that I fell asleep early that night.

It has been a long journey from the dark days of eighth grade when I felt that I had no one to now. I am still shy, I still get anxious in large crowds, but I am discovering a new me. A girl who is brave despite the fact she still wakes up in the middle of the night heart pounding, blood pumping and desperately wondering if I will ever feel normal. I am discovering that I like sitting in my room, watching Netflix and cross-stitching. If I want to go out I’ll go out, but if I want to stay in I will and that is ok. It’s taken me since eighth grade to be comfortable with who I am but it’s never too late to start.

I am excited to see where Cath’s journey takes her. I am excited to laugh with her, share her struggles, and enjoy some fanfic because what kind of world would this be without fandoms?

Art that is made of Chocolate and Glass #diglitclass

This week I was asked to chose a TED talks video, watch it and then reflect.

I chose to watch a playlist of seven videos called Art made of unusual stuff. I chose this not only because the title caught my eye but because in another life I would have loved to have been an art teacher (I seriously mean another life because I can’t draw, paint, or anything an art teacher should be able to do). I love creativity and finding a new way to express oneself which is exactly what these artists have done. I recommend watching all of the videos but especially my favorite one whose description I left blank-no spoilers.

When I started watching these videos I didn’t know what to expect because since taking an Art History course I have become somewhat of a skeptic of modern art. That said these artists blew me away because they simply reinvented the way people look at art. They hacked art and I love it!

The first Ted talk is about artist Vic Muniz an artist who creates beautiful images out of string, cotton, sugar, chocolate, wire, and much more. It is incredible and so are the stories behind his works, especially the story about the sugar children.

Next we come to my favorite talk so watch and enjoy:

We are then taken on Alexa Meade’s journey from law school to painting every day objects to look like images from a canvas come to life before our very eyes.

Meklit Hadero may not make what we think of conventional art but music and sounds are the natural art of this world and something about her voice is equally musical.

Lui Bolin, known as the invisible man not only talks about his art but the history and context behind art that is about China.

Nathalie Miebach’s talk was my second favorite because this incredible woman creates art out storm patterns and the frequencies of storms. It is a short talk but such an incredible artistic story is told in those four minutes.

Last but not least Dustin Yellin gives his talk. I will admit he is a bit eccentric but isn’t everyone? He is a great example of a man who is hacking his way through life and creating incredibly talented original art along the way.

For all those critics of modern art, and I can say this because I am a huge critic of modern art, this is what modern art is about. It is about breaking convention and making something that is beautiful and full of imagination. My definition of art is this: creating something original and beautiful out of the talent we are given. For some of these artists that is paint, others chocolate, or even storms, but that is their God given talent and they are using it to create masterpieces.

 

Wishlist Wednesday #YA Lit

 

 

Wednesday Wish List

 

The Winner’s Kiss is the third installment to the Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski.

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Synopsis:

 

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people―and certainly more than she did for him.

 

At least, that’s what he thinks.

 

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

 

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

 

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

 

Synopsis CC of Amazon.com.

 

I listened to the first book in the series, The Winner’s Curse, while driving around Yellowstone last August. I was so disappointed it was part of a trilogy because I had no access to the next book in the series. Jump ahead several months to January 2016 and a little trip to the local library where lo and behold there is the second book to the series, The Winner’s Crime! I grabbed it, held it to my chest and continued looking for the book I actually came to the library to look for. I now have to patiently wait until March 29, for the last book in the series, The Winner’s Kiss. It is in my wish list now and I am very tempted to pre-order a copy.

Pen to Paper Blog -host of Wishlist Wednesday meme

Blog Hop

Penny for Your Thoughts #YA Lit Class

This isn’t my required blog for the week just something that has been on my mind and I wanted to share. I came across this quote the other day on Pinterest and it really stuck with me.

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Books impact different people differently. That is just simply magical in my mind. I could hate a book that changed someone else’s life and vice versa. Reading a book is a different experience for every person that reads that book. It may be the same story, same words, same characters, but the way we read it will always be different. The way we interpret the characters actions, speech, appearance will be different for every single person. Characters names probably even get pronounced differently!

It really is like stepping into our own individual worlds because no one book will ever be read the same. Every time you open a book it is your own magical experience that can be shared with someone but never experienced with them. Readers can get together and discuss how the book made them feel but each experience and feeling will never be exactly the same. It’s a mind blowing concept for me that I just had to share with the world.

A brief history of my experience with YA Literature #yalit

Until quite recently I have always been the kind of reader that read what everyone else was reading. I used to be adventurous as a child but when I got into my teen years I just simply read what was popular. There is nothing wrong with reading the books everyone is reading because chances are it is a really good book, but it skewed my reading experience. There was a brief period of my life where all I read was vampire books and I probably missed out on reading other great books for YA readers.

I have once again become an independent reader and because of that I am reading what I want to read. As of late that has been fantasy and historical fiction (if that is even considered a genre). I love reading stories that incorporate magic into an otherwise normal world, or just transports me to a world that is new and exciting. Take a look at my reviews for A Great and Terrible Beauty or Crimson Bound (also my weekly reading responses) to read about some awesome fantasy novels that incorporate a little history and fairy tales (another one of my favorites).

IMG_1224.jpg Photo CC Carlie Enns

In response to Shannon Hale’s post The Young Adult Book Tropes that Ate the World, I must say I agree with her. I do not mind reading books that have similar plot lines because not every book is the same and not every character will react the same way. YA books are meant for teens and if an adult doesn’t like the book because of teen situations, then they clearly don’t understand the book wasn’t written for them in the first place. I read young adult books when I was a teen because I could relate and understand the characters. When I wanted something a little more grown up I would read Nicholas Sparks but you could always find me going back to Sarah Dessen when I needed to read about a girl my age experiencing love for the first time. I still read young adult books because sometimes I just want to feel young again and there are some great fantasy YA books being published. I want to teach teens someday about Literature and what better way than to stay up to date about YA literature than reading it myself.

I would like to expand beyond my historical, fairy tale, and fantasy genres to books about teen issues, and maybe dystopia books, maybe. I also really enjoyed reading graphic novels that my friends told me to read but I never really got into them by myself. Overall I just want to make myself stop and look at books that aren’t fantasy.

 

Learning Project: Surrealism #diglit

If given the opportunity to learn anything what would I choose? That is a big question because there are so many things I would love to learn: how to drive a stick-shift, change my oil, crochet, french-braid, and the list goes on. What am I passionate about though?

Two semesters ago I took Art History II which focused on art from the Renaissance period through Post-Moderanism. My two favorite periods were the Rococo Period and the Surrealism movement. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time on surrealist paintings but they always stuck with me because they were so strange.

tumblr_l9y6q83CNl1qzse0lo1_r1_1280.jpg The Human Condition by René Magritte

After finishing that class I never really studied any more surrealist artists or their works until I came across a set of poems by Hannah Weiner- Hannah Weiner poems. I was taking a poetry class at the time and she was one of the poets for the week. She wrote eight simple little poems about eight different paintings by René Magritte and it re-sparked my interest in Surrealist paintings.

René Magritte is one of the more famous surrealist painters but there are a ton more out there. I found a top ten list on History Lists of surrealist artists and I am excited over the next ten weeks to discover more about these artists and their works. I would also like to explore artists who are not in the top ten.

I never really knew I had a love of paintings until I took an Art History class. I cannot paint at all unless I really take my time and even then it is nothing like the great artists. I love studying their work however and the reasons behind their paintings. Normally I am the type of person that finds it annoying to dissect someone’s work to find the meaning behind it, but there are hidden meanings in paintings especially in surrealist paintings. I am also interested in surrealist movies because I watched a clip from one in my art class and it is even more strange than the paintings.

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The Sun Sets Sail by Rob Gonsalves

I am super excited to begin this journey and learn more about these incredible artists and the inspirations behind their paintings.