Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Critical Studies Lecture - Uncanny urges: The familiar made strange


Disclaimer: Surrealist art is not really my thing and I beg forgiveness in advance if I've left something of vital importance out so that I could focus on the trivial (1). If you've noticed something that should be included then leave a response below.

A stand in for the human body
Religious aspects? - Not covered in this lecture
Sexual? (Freud in particular)
Perceived as the familiar made strange.
Objects placed next to each other to make the uncanny
Uncanny: an uncomfortable sensation when we are presented by something familiar in an unfamiliar way.  Example: Dolls or automaton (robots that look nearly human are referred to as living in uncanny valley)

Hans Belmar
Distorted representation of the human body made from dismembered doll parts.
The mannequin/doll is a stand in for the human body and some feminist art critics (2) viewed the work as support for a patriarchal society (there is an actual quote here but I missed it)
As a counter view Roslyn Proust argued that the dismemberment of the dolls was actually good for women as it showed female beauty breaking away from standard views (I may not have gotten this exactly right)
Sarah Lucas
Nuds exhibition – there is a distinct play between soft and hard materials.
Pat Brassington
Strange bodies and shapes
Mining private psychological life things
His work is anxious (?) [Camera angles and shadowy shapes which imply things rather than showing them]
Louise Bourgeois
Makes surrealist art but denies being part of the surrealist movement (3)

Sigmund Freud - Defined a fetish as follows: “Where sexual gratification can be obtained through foreign “stimulus [?]”
Transitional objects are something foreign that the child associates with themselves. (teddy bear, blanket etc.] They act as a stand in for the mother.
Winnicott – theories of play ()?)
Consciously building vs. vs. unconsciously making (3) 

Found objects
Everyday objects contain associations that carry over into art. - A clean bandage on a wound suggests health and healing while a dirty one suggests malady and more disease.
Dead substitutes of that which no longer exists – in the artist’s case it was hair that was stored in plastic bags and felted itself together into a gestalt state.
Like this except without as much ass kicking
The uncanny can be created with extreme close ups/ blurs/’ lighting of the projects and all manner of photographic trickery.  I’d go into more detail but I’m not a photography student.
  • NOTES:

  1. Because we all know how much I hate to focus on the trivial details or blow them all out of proportion.
  2. There may have been specific names mentioned but I missed them.
  3. This technically makes her a self-hating surrealist)
  4. You can argue that it is that which is created while you are in a Zen state of being.  You are concentrating on your work and, at the same time, not concentrating on it.  This is why you look up at the clock and realize that you've just missed the last bus home or the entire day has gone past.

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