Exploring the Surreal

Need some help getting to grips with Surrealism? The Doctor will see you now.

Peter Capaldi, a former art student, and the latest actor to play Doctor Who, settles down on Freud’s couch to deliver his wry take on the Surrealist movement.

‘Unlock Art’ is Tate’s new short film series, offering a witty inside track on the world of art.  Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi joins forces with rock duo The Kills, comedian Frank Skinner, Girls star Jemima Kirke and other celebrity art fans to introduce some of the big ideas that have shaped art history. A new film is released each month, with topics ranging from the history of the nude and the nature of the art market, to Pop art.

Thanks to Tate, Unlock Series

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Sueños/Dreams

From 1948-1951 German-born Argentinian photographer Grete Stern was commissioned to create photo-montages for an Argentinian romance magazine called Idilio. On the basis of descriptions sent in by its female readership she visualised 143 dreams for the series “Psychoanalysis Will Help You“, working in close collaboration with the sociologist and psychoanalyst Gani Germani, who directly advised her on how to depict certain dreams in a Freudian way. Stern had less than a week for each collage, drawing on her archive of landscape photography and using relatives and friends as models. Germani would then refer directly to the collage when analysing the dreams in the magazine.

Stern often presents family as a deathly, alienating force completely inverting its traditional role. Men invariably appear menacing, be it as a direct physical threat in form of a monstrous macho with a tortoise head or as a commodifying force, transforming the female into a usable object, as in ‘Dream 61′ where the woman is the base of a lamp which is about to be switched on by a man. And then there are the obvious, and metaphorically heavy-handed, collages where the female protagonist is trapped in a literal cage, in a corked glass vessel, or beneath a net thrown at her by her husband.

Text from The Argentina Independent

Dreams No. 1. Grete Stern. 1948.

Dream No. 61. Grete Stern. 1948.

Grete Stern  Dream No 5 Bottle cast into the sea 1949

Dream No. 5 (Bottle cast into the sea). Grete Stern. 1949.

Grete Stern – photomontage, 1949

Dreams. Grete Stern. 1949.

Grete Stern – Dream Nº 28, 1951

Dream No. 28. Grete Stern. 1951.