WAA.024/ 025

L'AMOUR FOU: SURREALISM & PHOTOGRAPHY/ R.Krauss, M.Warner, D.Ades, P.Wollen ; ICA, London; 27/9/86

Rosalind Krauss discusses to what extent is it possible to conclude upon a general theory of Surrealism, or photography? She argues that their definitions are entangled.

She cites a variety of writers dealing with the photographic; Susan Sontag and her discussion of Surrealism as the condition of everything; all photography in essence is Surreal. Walter Benjamin too, invites photography into his discussions only to relegate the medium to the margins of veracity in art. As a product of the condition of reproducibility, the photograph suffers from a fading aura.

In his text Camera Lucida, Barthes returns photography to the Surreal for its uncanny properties. The camera is a centre and simultaneously a blind spot, which mediates and acts as a filter to evidence the world. Is it possible to talk about present day Surrealists, where the movement is more than an aesthetic? Is it a practice, a moral code or a historical moment?

The audience expresses a strong response to the accompanying exhibition, a sense of being simultaneously compelled and disturbed. A debate ensues regarding the ambiguous status of gender representation and pornography.

Peter Wollen describes the abundance of disturbing images shared between Surrealism and Photography. According to Wollen, Freud's theories on anxiety, dread, trauma and desire are the best and only ways to talk about these art works.


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Accession No. WAA.024/ 025
Artist: L'AMOUR FOU: SURREALISM & PHOTOGRAPHY/ R.Krauss, M.Warner, D.Ades, P.Wollen
Container annotation: Rosalind Krauss, Marina Warner, Dawn Ades, Peter Wollen
Place/Year: ICA, London 27/9/86
Type: Conference
Technical aspects:
Duration: 50'
Tape capacity: 90
Tape brand: TDK