The functions fulfilled by surrealistic photographs published in periodicals remain suspended between two extremities, orders and different practices, between subversion and aesthetics. The first is connected with the actual activity of the artists, and the second - primarily with the activity of the interpreters. On the one hand, photographs undermine their credibility and status of fully-fledged works of art, and are revolutionary in relation to the text or represented reality; on the other hand, they possess forms sufficiently expressive and beautiful so that in time they start to act in favour of building the renown of photographic imagery according to the modernistic categories of the autonomous medium. If it were possible to collect photographs functioning within the range of pre-war French Surrealism, the outcome would be an area for a confrontation with reality. Photographs are treated not as autonomous images but as representations devoid of a distance towards reality, and, quite possibly, even as part of the same phenomenological experience. They resemble extracted fragments of reality, in the manner of dreams, found objects, and all symptoms of psychic automatism or that of the world.
Karolina Lewandowska, c/o Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Historii Sztuki, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland
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