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Surreal Nonsense & Absurdist Humor Examples, Dark SurhumorismHow would the gods and heroes of antiquity of classical paintings be depicted in the modern world? Artist George Grie has been reflecting on this topic. He created a small sarcastic series of images with the witty title of humor-surrealism or sur-humorist. He invites some characters of well-known paintings and famous literary heroes to live a modern world. Let’s go down to the subway, sit in a cafe, meet at the fountain of Coca-Cola. This is extremely unusual project of the surrealist artist. There are only few images here. However, you can just laugh, appreciate the originality of thinking and presentation, be surprised by the subtle irony of the paintings choice and subject matters.
"I created this series of work more than 10 years ago. It was posted in the Internet under the pseudonym John7 Doe 7. I did not want to give my name to the pictures for the simple reason that these works are strikingly different from what I usually make. In addition, they are rather light conceptual sketches then serious observations. But over the years it seemed to me that despite on the obvious difference between these collages and my artworks, they are still a part of my visual culture, they are the part that I could not utilise in traditional works, because of their obvious sarcastic-humorous nature. After some considerations, I decided to post them on my website anyway." - George Grie
Traditionally, the encyclopedic definition of surrealist humor sounds as - "Surreal or absurdist humor and comedy is a form of humor based on deliberate violations of cause and effect relationships that produce events and behavior that are clearly illogical. Surreal humor designs are usually associated with bizarre comparisons, inconsistencies, unpredictable, irrational or absurd situations and expressions of nonsense." However, it seems that this definition is way too narrowly focused. It does not cover the entirety of surrealistic method, or the depth of the humor nature. In my opinion, the definition lacks a modern view of the partial merging of neo-realism and pop-art. In this little art-collection, the fusion with pop-art is revealed in its versatility.
Many contemporary artists, illustrators, designers, and photographers create a new niche in art. They are trying to look innovatively at the modern world and the classic concept of culture. For the most people who do not go to museums and libraries, these photo-collages may be the only information available to get familiar with masterpieces of painting, graphics and literature. Such photo manipulations and other objects of the new genre have not yet been given a definite title or category. George Grie, along with the ideas of sarcastic canvases, gave a title which has a chance to become a new term for art critics. It is Surhumorism. One word, characterizes the technique and the ironic direction of the Surhumorism. This kind of art is beyond the typical limits of the artistic framework.
Modern culture is often blamed for the inevitable decay. Perhaps, the Surhumorism is not a bad way to transfer the best from the past to our contemporary viewers in the format of a collage, and a Photoshop, and easy intellectual games. Viewers are used to get knowledge in the entertainment format. Another advantage of such works is the opportunity to see how the idea of beauty and ethics has changed over the last 600 years, how little we really have changed ourselves. It is despite of all the achievements of our technological century. We do not order portraits, but we prefer calendars, posters, and photos to genre paintings today. Nevertheless, the principles of composing artworks, literature, sculptures are the still same and make us love, empathize, and freeze in admiration.
Sir Peter Paul Rubens "Coca-Cola." It is playful hint of the author on the advertising dominance of some popular products. What will happen if the heroes of the most iconic paintings of the world are combined with our vulgar, cynical reality? Look what happened with the Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci. The characters look in KFC establishment very organically, modern. The artist accurately noticed that the popularity of KFC Company with its many cafes that surpasses the number of church institutions on the planet. Remake on the "Birth of Venus" Sandro Botticelli. From the version of George Grie it is clear that our views on morals and chastity have changed quite a lot, especially in commercial advertising and television. The image of chastity would be considered wickedness in the distant past of the Renaissance. Portrait of Dali, in the spirit of Dali, Salvador Dali is dedicated. How could we miss him, such persons are never forgotten.
Here are surrealistic photo-collages on literary themes. "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevski, Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist. "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, novel "Rendezvous in Samaria" by John O'Hara, Stephen King's novel "Pets Cemetery", All's Well That Ends Well" by William Shakespeare, An oxymoronic combination of objects in these compositions gives rise to a chain of reflections and associations. In all of George Grie's works there is a share of black humor, skepticism, and ridicule over certain rules and ideals, which is quite inherent in surrealism in general. Another nostalgic work-allegory "Gone with the wind" ... Photo of the Sherborne subway station in Toronto in the 1950s and Merlin Monroe. The artist used this metro station for several years when he lived and worked in Toronto." Here is the personalization of the popular expression "Cute as a button". Since when is the button pretty?
Perhaps, many of these works seem blasphemous and frivolous. But this is what the author point attention to… to our sometimes obsolete and fossilized ideas about classical literature and art. *
George Grie. 2006-2008.
Used software: Adobe Photoshop®, Adobe Illustrator®, Photo Stock
(rus) Сюрреалистический Юмор, Примеры Абсурда и Нонсенса в Искусстве
*Text Heather W.W.
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