Copy Culture | Modern Surrealism as Reproduction
Top: Kim's Bin-Jip/ 3-Iron Bottom: Wang Du's The Kiss
I must play cynic as I feel it does not take much to be recognized these days. With the proliferation of social media and hyper-journalism, blogs, feeds, fodder, i-this, and insta-that, most of us have well over our Warhollotted fifteen minutes of fame. But for most of us, our efforts remain low-brow, all of which would never land us in the Centre Pompidou.
Recent travels to see the Pompidou’s Surrealist Collection reveal a curatorial emphasis on technique over content. Not to say art or the Surrealist Movement requires originality, but perhaps my gripe begins during World War I. As the progeny of Dadaism, the Surrealist Movement fed off the unpredictable, the juxtaposed, the ill-timed, and unfathomable-made-physical.
A viewing of Wang Du’s The Kiss 2005, left little impression of Surrealism or the Dada, simply a reference to a surrealist film produced in 2004 by Korean director Ki-duk Kim titled, Bin-Jip, or 3-Iron. Understanding the referential nature of some artists, I am peeved to hear the words, “Wang Du was inspired by Ki-duk Kim,” for imitation should not wear the mask of inspiration. Ki-duk Kim’s 3-Iron bears tell-tale traits of a surrealist film and although one might say Kim’s Tae-suk character bears similar behavior to Jeunet’s Amélie, it would be frivolous to say the film was an imitation.
Another piece with a similar “inspiration equates imitation” attitude was Andre Rafrray’s Étant donnés. Yes, the Étant donnés was Duchamp’s most controversial work as it may have refuted much of his life’s work, but to reproduce the view through the peephole is a weak connection to the surreal. Was the intent to displace my three-dimensional space as if I was truly viewing Duchamp’s Étant donnés? Have we immortalized the three-dimensional assemblage through a two-dimensional painting of it?
Having paid to see this collection titled, “Electric Fields: Surrealism and Beyond,” I’ve failed to find beyond, and I’ve only brushed against a nostalgic encounter with Surrealism. The truth is, I’ve found a greater Modern Surrealist perspective wandering the back-alleys of Los Angeles’s Chinatown than in the high-brow authoritarian pay-per-view exhibits of modern-privatized art. With that said, give me my twenty yuan back so I can patron a foot massage and call it performance art.
BuildingSatire is a blog consisting of architectural satire, cynicism, and humor to alleviate the tension and pretension in professional architecture.