Okay.So we're going to focus on surrealism today.Uh,this movement and it happened in art and literature.Uh,it occurred in the 20th century between the first and second world wars.There was a group of French surrealist who were very into exploring the um,unconscious mind,things like dreams,things that go on in our unconscious.Things were not aware of.
The Listening Room（1952）
Um,and there were other surrealist who were more interested in the conscious mind,like the Belgian artist Rene Magritte who will be focusing on today.Magritte wasn't really into the unconscious at all.Like I said he explored conscious understanding.By that,I mean,reality things that are real that we experience when we're awake.Magritte became well known for juxtaposing or combining familiar images in such a way that they became unfamiliar.Like he did one painting of an apple in a room,two common things,right?But he made the apple so big that it took up the entire room.So the image we see of two familiar things becomes completely absurd.
The Treachery of Images（1928-1929）《图像的背叛》
Okay?All right.Now,um,along with his works that juxtaposed objects,Magritte explored the effect caused by introducing words into paintings.He put words in the paintings themselves or give the paintings kind of bizarre titles.For example,there's a famous painting of his that that chose a curved tobacco pipe with the words written beneath that saying in French,this is not a pipe.Well,obviously,it wasn't an actual tobacco pipe that someone could smoke,but it was a very realistic painting of a pipe.Uh,so Magritte was experimenting with words and images and how we use words to see and think about the world.
Now,before we get into this any further,we need to talk about the idea of representation.And this gets kind of philosophical but bear with me.Okay?All right.Basically,two ways of representing things are by resemblance and by arbitrary association.Resemblance means basically,um,representing something with an image that looks like the thing it's referring to.So if you're representing a tree this way that you would draw a sketch of the tree with a trunk branches leaves.So the thing you're using to represent an actual tree,uh,it resembles a tree all right.
Now,arbitrary association is what words do.Written words themselves,at least in modern languages,don't look like the things they're representing,but they’re associated with them.So one way to represent the concept of a tree by arbitrary association would be to just write down the word using the alphabetic symbols that spell the word tree,t-r-e-e.Those letters in themselves on anything,but scribbles,but they represent the concept of tree in our minds.And it works with abstract ideas,too.If you see the word“want“written on a page,you know what it means?You don't need to see a picture of it.Are you following me?Uh,you can use arbitrary association to represent abstract things,things you couldn't draw a picture of.
So Magritte was interested in like playing with representation and making people aware of these processes that we use.And this and all this about making us think about representation and how we use it.Well,it's a common thing to study in art today.Much more so than when the Magritte was painted.Basically,the Magritte was way ahead of his time in that respect.
The Palace of Curtains III,1928/29
Okay,anyway,let's look at another Magritte from 1929 called“The Palace of Curtains III”.Well,what did I say about these are titles?
Now this is a pretty simple example of what we were just talking about.We have two frames.The one on the left is the sky,right?Okay?And over on the right,it's just the word“ciel”now“ciel”means sky in French.So here you have two kinds of representation.There's resemblance on the left,because it's painted to look like the sky and arbitrary association on the right,because it has the word for sky.And if you notice,there are shadows behind these two frames.So the light must be coming from behind the viewer and to the left,not from the sky,which you might expect if it actually were the sky.So the representation of sky isn’t accurate because of the lighting.So the question is,does it really resemble the sky?And by the way,don't think Magritte didn't do this on purpose.That was the point to make people think about the way things are represented as images and as words.