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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Reminiscence), surrealism
Dreams of Flying or Sleep Paralysis
surrealism, Inadvertent Metamorphosis or King of my Castle
Arrested Expansion - modern neo surrealism calendars digital art 3d wallpapers
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What is Neosurrealism?
Is this a new discovery or well-forgotten old one? Surrealism vs Neo-surrealism.
The Neo-Surrealist Manifesto.

“Everything you can imagine is real.” ― Pablo Picasso

Writing an essay about the movement of visual art is a unappreciated task. I am doomed from the start to a wave of criticism from all sides at the same time. Art critics have own points of view. Artists are not guided by the framework of direction, they are driven by visions and inspiration only. Audience is not interested in the theory or art history at all.

I would not want to title this art-musings as a manifesto per se. Manifestos are usually written at the beginning of the movement. Neosurrealism does not need a manifesto as such, it existed, it exists, and it will continue to exist regardless of the artistic declarations that I bring to your attention.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that there is a need to rationalize and clarify the many trends, terminology, and diverse interpretations of the modern surrealism progression. Does the movement exists at all, or is it all the same good old ‘surr’ of the beginning of the last century? If it does, what its differences, transformations, and peculiarities are.

Subliminal Message or Optical Illusion of Conscious Perception 2018 - George Grie
Subliminal Message or Optical Illusion of Conscious Perception 2018
- George Grie*
To begin, I would suggest a small terminological reference for those who are not familiar with the theory of fine-arts. Traditional categories within the arts include visual arts (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.), the graphic arts (painting, drawing, design, and other forms expressed on flat surfaces), the plastic arts (sculpture, modeling), the decorative arts (enamel work furniture design, mosaic, etc.). Painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. defined as brunches of visual arts. Genre of fine-art is a type of artwork characterized by certain themes, for example: historical, animalistic, still-life, portrait, etc. Don't get confused in the definitions.

Surrealism in fine arts is not a genre nor a category or branch, it is an art movement, sometimes the term stream is used. To be exact, Surrealism is a part of the wide cultural movement called Modernism (1880–1965). Art movement is a closely defined style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists. Art movement includes both the category and genre of visual arts or else in literature or theater. The word movement implies motion in some direction. The art movement is diverse and unpredictable, it changes and can offshoot into many assorted components.

There are many visual art movements, some of them are close, others are completely different:
• For example, the Impressionists sought to develop methods and techniques that would most naturally and vividly capture the real world in its mobility and variability, convey its momentary impressions.
• Representatives of Romanticism, characterized by the assertion of the intrinsic value of the spiritual and creative life of the individual, the image of strong passions and characters, spiritualized and healing nature.
• Artists of Cubism sought to decompose the depicted three-dimensional object into simple elements and assemble it on canvas in a two-dimensional image.

The Persistence of Memory 1931 - Salvador Dali
The Persistence of Memory 1931 - Salvador Dali
• Surrealists are distinguished by the use of allusions and paradoxical combinations of forms. Surrealism - the combination of dreams and reality converted into an absolute reality, a super-reality. The surrealists offered an absurd and contradictory combination of naturalistic images through collage and technology of distortion, dystopia and manipulation of image objects. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms. The primary goal of the surrealists was spiritual elevation and separation of the spirit from the material.

There is no consensus on the end date the surrealist movement. It is around the middle of the 20th century. Among the heirs of surrealism movement is Fantastic realism and styles resulting from it, for example, Visionary art. Neosurrealism appeared towards the end of the 20th century on the brink of Postmodernism and Post-postmodernism. By Wikipedia’s definition, Neosurrealism is an art crusade that illustrates fantasies or subconscious visions in complex and non-rational combinations of space and forms. It was I who recorded this definition there in 2006.

Neo-surrealism perhaps, should not be called a movement per se, simply because the movement usually has a group of like-minded individuals united by common objectives. Some of them even have founders. Neo-surrealism is rather a stream, it has no founders or a philosophical platform. Some artists joined it earlier, others later even without clear awareness of their affiliation. Although, different groups of artists from diverse countries sometimes form collectives.

Omsk, Russia, OmGPU, XGF students
Members of underground Neo-surrealist exhibition 1979 - Omsk, Russia, OmGPU, XGF students

The term Neosurrealism does not separate it from the classical interpretation of Surrealism. It is rather a time-line point of reference. The same way it happened to classicism and neoclassicism, romanticism and neo-romanticism. Neosurrealism as well could be called post-surrealism or contemporary surrealism. The transfer of the artistic image arises from the peculiarities of the mind, talent, and the very nature of the artist — that is the main difference of the surrealistic model of reality observation. Modern Neosurrealism painters create their own unique world of optical illusions, fantastic dreams from the depths of their imagination and a ghostly world of strange visions that will leave few indifferent. It is rather difficult to determine the starting point for the emergence of new followers of the surrealist movement. Some sources call the 70s of the last century. But I would move it 20 years ahead in the 90s. It was then that the new/old surreal mentality received a fresh and massive development.

The energy for this development was given by the immense spread of the Internet and www in the early 90s. Traditionally, all works of art were a filtered selection by art critics prior getting into the view of general public. The surface of the "world of art" presented by galleries, exhibition halls, and journal publications could only be populated by someone who has been approved, appreciated, and accepted by artistic elite.

Virtual walk-through 3D gallery 1995
Virtual walk-through www 3D gallery
The Internet has offered another form of mass publication. Numerous online galleries have opened the doors to the stream of motley artists, both professionals and amateurs, new talents, artistic ideas and trends. With rare exceptions, all their works were not censored by professional art critics or seasoned artists.

The Internet has erased the boundaries of what is permitted, approved, and accepted by giving complete freedom of expression to everyone. The viewer will ultimately appreciate everything according to his or her views, value, and taste. The flow of new names and artworks has become truly overwhelming, pushing aside critics and traditional gallery restrictions. It is no secret that exhibition halls today are empty, even exhibiting high-profile names, while online traffic is overwhelming. The simplicity and accessibility of the Internet has led to the fact that the number of views of artworks online is hundreds of times higher than the number of visitors to any exhibitions.

The term Neosurrealism does not have a clear meaning. It translates as New Super Realism (from Greek - Neonate and Fr. - Surréalisme) which can mean anything. This is a voluminous and diverse movement, which includes many branches and sub-divisions. Some of them are Fantasy art, Psychedelic art, and Ar-Brut. Everything is quite clear with artistic Realism, it is a reflection of reality.
Surrealism is much more complex and assorted. Super Realism was originally based on the subconscious of the person and one’s expressionism. However, one’s sub consciousnessis mysterious territory for us. It is constantly changing, expanding, deforming and opening new horizons. The consciousness and sub consciousnessof a person of the early 20th century is strikingly different from that of the beginning of the 21st century. Surrealism and its updated version Neo-surrealism appeared with the aim of expanding human consciousness. And what is required for this? How to expand, change, consciousness? One need to break the familiar picture of the world for that.

Glass Matte Painting in Cinema 1930
Glass Matte Painting in Cinema 1930

The emergence of surrealism in the early twentieth century is often associated with the development of technology on Earth. It was a way to respond to a changing reality. For some artists it was a new reality that filled them with energy and optimism, for others it was the tragedy of breaking traditional ideas of ethics and morality, decay, degradation, and chaos.
I suppose it has its truth. Of course, everything that happens around us affects the artist to the same extent as everyone around him. It seems to me it would be logical to link the emergence of Neo-surrealism with the development of computer technology. The new digital visualization platform has undoubtedly expanded not only our ideas about the image, but also made it possible to manipulate this image. With the advent of digital painting, photo manipulation, three-dimensional computer graphics, computer games, etc., our knowledge and consciousness has acquired new horizons for development and not only horizons but even new worlds, such as Virtual World.

Environment Modeling 3ds max 2010
Environment Modeling 3ds max 2010*
If we talk about the technological aspect of the emergence of Neo-surrealism, we can use an example of Matte-painting. Initially, Matte-painting is a movie combination technology in which the full-scale part of the frame is combined with the background pattern to create an illusion of the environment. Used in photography, television and animation to facilitate the creation of realistic space, matte paintings have evolved from painted glass panels to entire 3D digital worlds.
This modest technological method of visual deception, in essence, is a creation of super reality (sur-reality). It is when you see something real on a two-dimensional screen, but it is just a reality manipulation. Another example of reality manipulation is a graphical structure of a computer/video game in which an object moves along corridors and a labyrinth in which walls and ceilings are two-dimensional pictures of landscapes or interiors ... nevertheless, the sense of dimensional reality of what is happening on the screen remains unparallel.

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.” ― Pablo Picasso

If we look at Neo surrealism from the visual art point of view, then it is rather moves in the opposite direction from the technological construction of a computer game. I would say that in the juxtapositions of Neo Surrealism artists, landscapes and interiors remain invariably realistic, but the objects and actions against the backgrounds are pure fantasy. This technique syndicates realism and fantasy and gives the effect of reality to the unreal. This practice allows you to believe in the canvas and what is happening on it can exist in reality or at least in imaginary reality. In the infinite space that is woven of hundreds of small illusions, a person stops distinguishing the boundaries of the superimposed images, thus forming a new dimension which looks more like a dream.

The False Mirror 1928 - Rene Magritte
The False Mirror 1928 - Rene Magritte

"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." - Salvador Dali

The surrealism movement of the last century was assorted and ambiguous.
Salvador Dali led a surrealist painting towards epatage (shocking) and literature. Dali began to use long titles for his works. For example, “Sleep caused by the flight of a bee around a pomegranate, a second before awakening,” unlike many abstract canvases that are often simply numbered. He tried to add a certain literary component to his paintings, he wanted to expand the level of perception of his work.
Rene Magritte generally engaged only in shocking compositions. The quality of his paintings can be compared with the skill of an amateur artist. Nevertheless, it does not diminish his originality and enormous contribution to the popularization of the movement.
Maurits Escher based his compositions primarily on mathematical principles. The subsequent to surrealism pop-art movement refused to paint at all, turning everything into a shocking pile of utilitarian and semi-utilitarian objects.

Day and Night 1938 - M.C. Escher
Day and Night 1938 - M.C. Escher

The primary objective of the surrealists was spiritual elevation and separation of the soul from the material. Here we come to the basics of the neo-surrealism definition. With the arrival of computer technology, artists and sculptors got a great opportunity of in-depth manipulation of the reality. An advanced photo-manipulation appeared, it became possible to combine 2 and 3 dimensional spaces. Even to make alive the picture space by using computer algorithms and animation, as an example Generative Art or Dynamic Painting. All of the new technological opportunities that the founders of surrealism fundamentally did not have.
The original surrealistic goal of separating the spirit from the material retreats and becomes secondary. The knowledge of the spirit, its diversity and variety of colors come to the forefront. Just because the need to separate spiritual and material is no longer necessary. The material has its place of existence, and the spiritual has it too. Besides, the spiritual, conscious and subconscious horizons are practically and physically immeasurable.

Blowing in the wind 2007 - Gilles Tran
Blowing in the wind 2007 - Gilles Tran

It would seem that the definition of the essence of the Neosurrealism flow is quite simple. Neo-surrealist work is an artwork created in the surrealist manner with the help of a computer. However, it is not so simple. I expect that many would immediately ask me a question - what about the traditional forms of art? such as sculpture, painting and drawing, if by your definition Neo-surrealism is computerized art.
Nothing of the kind! Any artwork which is done in the key, style, and spirit of surrealism, by any materials, is creation of neo-surrealism today. It is only because it is already 100 years away from the beginning of the original movement. And an artist who creates it is a man of the new millennium. He has worldview, psychology, knowledge, tasks, consciousness and subconsciousness, which are strikingly different from the artists who stood at the roots of the movement.

Dissolution of Ego VI 2017 - Peter Gric
Dissolution of Ego VI 2017 - Peter Gric*

Many still argue the answer to the question, what more important is - Traditional art such as painting and drawing or computer graphics. This dispute does not make much sense. Both artistic conducts are personal expressions, only the application tools are different. The first one require skills of an applied nature, the other one is digital. There is no doubt that computer technology is and will be dominating in the nearest future.
However!, it does not deny or diminish the presence of traditional forms of fine arts. In fact, many artists are using computer modeling prior moving their creations to canvas. Others moved to the digital creativity completely. Even such a master of painting as Zdzislaw Beksinski was experimenting with photo manipulation in the end of his career.
Digital art is a heir of fine art, and it is a very caring and strong one. At one time, poetry for the most part moved to songwriting. Literature and theater to cinema. But traditional forms of literature and language itself are present in everything. Arguing about what more important is a movie or a book is childish at least. The answer is simple ... both.

Peach Blossom Island 2017 - Yuanxing Liang
Peach Blossom Island 2017 - Yuanxing Liang*

New technological capabilities have added diversity and vitality to the surrealism perception. With the arrival of three-dimensional printers, Neo-surrealistic sculpture has shifted from computer screens to real life. A computer is just a tool, an instrument to achieve certain visual goals. The only question is - what goals are those? A computer by using artistic filters, will turn the same visual material into cubism, and into impressionism, and into expressionism within a second. However, the initial information for processing is entered by a person. A person that has certain intentions and aspiration. And the final result is evaluated from an aesthetic point of view by a person, according to his/her education, vision, and talent.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” ― Albert Einstein

Crucifixion Corpus Hypercubicus 1954 - Salvador Dali
Crucifixion Corpus Hypercubicus 1954 - Salvador Dali

In my opinion, the unassuming method of defining Neosurrealism’ art style would be a detection of an unusual visual effect. The effect of exaltation, when a viewer looks at the artwork picture and is experiencing an inexplicable awe. The effect of awe that makes the viewer sensing his spiritual elevation, growth or flight. No wonder why the image of the Christ crucifixion was used by religion precisely for these visual qualities. S. Dali also had a hand in the use of this centuries-old symbol. In general, it does not matter what is shown in the picture. If you experience a similar effect of the spirit lifting, then you are in front of a neo-surrealist work. Many will certainly argue that reverent awe can be caused by anything for different people, from ordinary things to a pathology for some. This is true, but that would for a completely different essay or rather psychiatric examination.

"One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Such an inspiring effect as awe can be visually masked in any form. Any paradoxical combination of objects, people, or landscapes that raises questions such as why and what for this is done. It may be a submarine flying in the sky, a ship sailing into the sea of sand, or flying elephants. Optical illusions of object combinations belong to the same category. Each time, looking at such an image, your subconscious will present you a variety of questions and answers as well. Super realistic impact is deeply individually for anyone. There is no unequivocal answer to the riddle in front of you. Only a viewer, individually, may find the answers, according to his/her experience, worldview, logic, knowledge, and/or consciousness.

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." - Edgar Degas
“You might as well ask an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem. It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear thorough the search.” ― Rick Riordan

Neo-surrealism is evolving, it is constantly updated by professional artists and amateur enthusiasts. This movement continues and only gains strength. New discoveries and technologies make it even more powerful. There are no boundaries of knowledge and self-knowledge. There are literally thousands of contemporary artists trying to find answers to the eternal question of being - Who am I!,
I tried to understand and reflect on this subject in this short review.

George Grie, May 14, 2009
Title Rus - Манифест
* Illustrations added 2019

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