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“Film und Foto” Exhibition and Surrealism in Photography Essay


In 1929, the exhibition Film und Foto that can be considered as the first great remarkable event for the epoch of the European, Soviet, and American art of photography was organized (Magilow 16). The exhibition took place in Stuttgart and was established by Deutscher Werkbund, and it represented visions of the photographers regarding modern art (Magilow 16).

The exhibition toured to other cities in Germany for people to get an opportunity to see how film and photo industry are connected in unexpected ways, how modern means of communication became much more significant than they used to. Over a thousand of works created by almost two hundred artists were represented at Film und Foto that reflected the modern vision of the following photographers, namely Berenice Abbott, Man Ray, Maurice Tabard, Paul Outerbridge, Willi Baumeister, and others.

The designer of the main room of Film und Foto, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, was a very active participant and supporter of the exhibition and contributed to its development. The typical feature of the represented works was an unexpected angle of the photo taken as the traditional way of taking photos shifted towards unusual perspectives, such as photos that are taken from parachute or photomontage.

One of the greatest photographers of the Soviet Union that took part in Film und Foto exhibition was Alexander Rodchenko with his work Fire Escape that amazes with simplicity, unusual view of the ordinary things, where the photographer combines light and composition to achieve the aesthetic goal of art (Horak 357). Another example of the work that was represented at Film und Foto is Berlin Radio Tower by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy that shows one of the most famous buildings in the capital of Germany under an unordinary angle the work was presented in the main room of the touring exhibition that the photographer helped to prepare (Horak 357).

Surrealism

Surrealism is considered to be a cultural movement of the early twentieth century and is commonly reflected in the works of art and writings. The fundamental objective of surrealism was to find a balance between dream and reality, guided by this goal artists created illogical works that were characterized by photographic precision and depicting odd creatures from ordinary objects (Aspley 56).

According to Henri Bergson, a philosopher, intuition is the only tool to experience the truth, and this idea is dominant for art, where the surrounding reality is perceived in the form of a personal vision and not as a logical concept, where the process of creation is mystical and irrational.

The fundamental technique in surrealism is creativity to connect the unconnected, the convergence of images that are alien, and symbolism. The leading masters of surrealism on the initial stage of this art movement were Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Andre Masson, and Yves Tanguy, furthermore, a decade later, surrealism became a recognized movement in the world of art and Magritte and Dali became famous (Aspley 56). However, it should be stressed that surrealism was popular not only in pictorial art but in photography as well and is represented by Man Ray, Hans Bellmer, and Andre Kertesz.

Andre Kertesz was fond of the art of the photography and enjoyed surrealism; it can be traced in his work Satyric Dancer Paris that is considered to be a variant to a popular German magazine where Kertesz aimed to depict marital infidelity (Peres 229). was very significant for Andre Kertesz, and it is reflected in his work Chez Mondrian that represents geometric order and curves of the interior, which is believed to be the most famous work of the artist (Peres 229).

Works Cited

Aspley, Keith. Historical Dictionary of Surrealism. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2010. Print.

Horak, Jan-Christopher. Saul Bass: Anatomy of Film Design. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 2014. Print.

Magilow, Daniel. The Photography of Crisis: The Photo Essays of Weimar Germany. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012. Print.

Peres, Michael. Focal Encyclopedia of Photography. Burlington: Focal, 2015. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2020. ""Film und Foto" Exhibition and Surrealism in Photography." November 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-und-foto-exhibition-and-surrealism-in-photography/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '"Film und Foto" Exhibition and Surrealism in Photography'. 20 November.

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