2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Women, the Muse and the Surrealists: how the Surrealist movement systematically compelled women to assume the role of the muse

This project explores the object of the muse through the territory of feminist philosophy and the context of the Surrealist movement and its founder André Breton. I explore how the movement worked systematically to exclude women from the role of artist, allowing them only to be part of the movement only as muses, which are characterised by Breton as child-like and hysterical. I use the works of Catherine Malabou and Luce Irigaray to explore how this erasure can be looked at from a feminist philosophical point of view and later use the work of Simone de Beauvoir to suggest how women could possibly escape this erasure through transcendence. Leonora Carrington is used as emblematic of this escape in her autobiographical Surrealist novel The House of Fear: Notes from Down Below (1989) and I suggest that the only possible way for the female Surrealists to be seen as artists and not muses by the movement is by partaking in this journey Down Below and becoming new in this journey. Despite any progression in feminism since the Surrealist movement I argue that the place of women as muse remains largely unchanged and the systematic erasure and discrediting of women from art only continues as it had in the Surrealist movement.

2007 Abstracts Stage 2

The Impact of Surrealism on Art Culture from Renaissance-Surrealism … Beauty, the Sublime and Autonomy

How has surrealism changed the way we can look at “art” and how has art changed since its “rebirth” in the 16th century Italian Renaissance? Kant’s notion of art posed against the Surrealist Philosophy using the object of Un Chien Andalou. Critically comparing this form of art against the notions of the Renaissance period assessing the emergence of the fascination with the Sublime in Surrealism from the typical Beauty in Renaissance. Philosophers and Artists: I shall be involving the philosophers Kant and Breton in discussing the merit of art and surrealism, as well as the Artists Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel and various Renaissance artists. I shall also involve insights from the work of Sigmund Freud.