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Surrealism and Photomontage: A Weapon of Ecstasy by Keith Wigdor

A surrealist analysis of the use of photomontage to liberate the human mind through the absolute submission to DESIRE! Keith Wigdor
August 17 2005

"what is at issue here is evaluating the danger of what might happen to our humanity in the present half-century, and distinguishing between what we want to keep and what we are ready to lose, between what we can welcome as legitimate human development and what we should reject with our last ounce of strength as dehumanization. I cannot think that choices of this kind are unimportant. p. 140"

from Jacques Ellul’s, "The Technological Society"


I decided to open with this passage taken from Ellul’s book to start

the trajectory of the projectile that I am sending into your mind. Beware,

I do not agree with Ellul’s delusions regarding his admiration for the

Barthian dialectic. I do admire his desire to analyze the logic behind the

techniques of the technology that we all have lived with for the past fifty

years, however I strongly disagree with his faith-based initiatives of

philosophical inquiry into the metaphysics of technology. Now, why I am

starting with this? Because modern life, our lives, our day to day reality,

has become subordinated to the rigid polarities of determinate goals

and functions, mechanized humanity inside a virtual world in a

continuous flux of voltage highs and voltage lows, sending us into a

virtual nothingness. The link between the individual and society

becomes regimented and placed within the grid matrix of the social

order. You all know this as fact. Now how do we release ourselves from

the controls of these rigid properties and reflected determinations?

Remember that in today’s technological society, our modern lives are

fixed, never really mediated through a whole process. I believed C.L.R.

James warned us about this in the past. See what this does to your own

mind? See what this does to your life? How can we save ourselves and

free our minds and lives from the machine?


Here is where Surrealism and its majestic weapon of photomontage

saves the day with its revelations, its new reflection as thought process

entering into the paradigm of modern life. This is where the Third

Dimension is positioned in perfect harmony with reality and absolute

Essence! First, Surrealist Photomontage is not a private affair. It never

was.The graphic signifiers produced by automatism and our

subconscious are produced in the medium of photomontage to place

emphasis on thediscoveries of distinct moments hidden in the mind,

then coming into being. As Surrealism has the creative power to

determine itself freely, the medium of Photomontage has the ability to

satisfy Hegel’s argument for objectivity, the absolute being of the

Notion. This is how it happens. The images in a Surrealist

Photomontage clarify their point of origin where DaDa destroyed the

point of origin. In the Surrealist Photomontage the point of origin is the

Subjective Notion, in DaDa it was the Objective Notion, dynamic and

explicit. Why do you think Heartfield was working so extensively in anti-

Hitler Propaganda? It is not that hard to identify DESIRE to combat

reality, or any of the hidden sublayers of the subconscious when

working in Photomontage. The key is to clarify the main juxtapositioned

elements (emerging from one’s own mind) when introducing the anti-

thesis in one’s piece. A perfect weapon for revolution, one that destroys

all obstacles. No laws are obeyed in creating the marvelous. This is not

technique that one uses, its more of a substancethat comes to surface.

Can you understand?


Max Ernst is primarily responsible for the evolution of

photomontage and collage in Surrealism during the 1920’s, yet Toyen

(during the 1930’s and on) is one who really stands out. There are

many other surrealists and artists who worked in photomontage (and

collage) that should be mentioned as great contributors to the

marvelous. A few to be mentioned are Conroy Maddox, Claude Cahun,

Jindrich Styrsky, Man Ray, Lászlo Moholy-Nagy, Václav Zykmund,

František Vobecký, Karel Teige (his classifiable collages), Raul Ubac,

Georges Hugnet, etc., etc. Even many of Hannah Hoch’s

Photomontages made during the 1930’s to the 1960’s can be classifed

as Surrealist, though her intentions were not inclined towards revelation

and the wonders of the marvelous, this can be debated, that is why I

mention this icon of Dada. I shall not leave out the great David Singer,

though many art historians would classify his work during the late

1960’s as psychedelic, I say surrealist!


Anger drives my photomontages, like a powerful drug. Many of my

own works are misinterpreted as satire, they are not! They are mainly

revealing in essence, also totally insane, which is something that drives

me to keep going. I cannot rationally describe the discoveries that I

make fromwithin my own mind, but I do want to become one with

delusions and hallucinations, where I am most content. Who really

cares about delicate tonal scales? Reality is a Trap! The Steering Arm is

glowing a hypnotic rainbow over bleeding flowers, I can see the horse,

can you?


Even Tolstoy says, "The activity of art is based on the capacity of

people to infect others with their own emotions and to be infected by the

emotions of others. ... Strong emotions, weak emotions, important

emotions, or irrelevant emotions, good emotions or bad emotions – if

they contaminate the reader, the spectator, or the listener – become the

subject of art." The mind is always infected, every minute, every second

of the day, it is bombarded with simultaneous stimuli that has to pass

through filters.Where does the information go that does not remain

stored in the hierarchyof the conscious? Freud was so on the mark

when he explored the hidden layers of the subconscious in his human

subjects! Such treasures can be found there! The supreme human

activity resides in the exploration of the mind.


There must be a clear understanding here in this observation of

"infecting the mind". Surrealist Photomontage does not dismiss or

diminish the qualitative expansion beyond an individual's feeling! The

obvious paradox that even Tolstoy dealt with is the situation, the reality

conclusion that one cannot escape from! Please allow me to be as

direct with you as I can here, Surrealism is at war with logic and

reality. Only when reality becomes synthesized with the anti-thesis, (the

emerging juxtapositions) from our minds, can the qualitative

significance of reality become enduring.


Keith Wigdor, Surrealist

August 16, 2005






 Surrealism and Photomontage: A Weapon of Ecstasy by Keith Wigdor   A surrealist analysis of the use of photomontage to liberate the human mind through the absolute submission to DESIRE!

 Surrealism in 2004   A surrealist statement on the direction of the surrealist movement in 2004.

Artworks Styles : Abstract - Collage - Digital - Modern - Surrealism - Visionary
Artworks Topics : Abstracted - Dada - Science Fiction - Surrealism
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