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Surrealism in Art and Advertising - Peter year project Surrealism and advertising (2017 ver… · 3rd year project Surrealism and advertising Surrealism Surrealism

Jul 04, 2020



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    Surrealism in Art and Advertising

    Module questions

    In the forthcoming series of lessons, we will be addressing a series of core questions. These

    questions are:

    How and why did Surrealist artists challenge us to look at familiar things around us in new

    and different ways?

    How have surrealist elements found their way into modern day advertising?

    How can text be used in advertising in surprising and oblique ways where it doesn’t simply

    state the obvious?

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    3rd year project Surrealism and advertising

    Surrealism Surrealism is a stream in the history of art that started during the early 1920s and featured artists such as Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. If you look carefully at the examples of their work shown here, you will see that although in some ways the pictures are painted in a quite realistic style not quite everything is actually quite as it seems. Strange things can, and do happen in a surreal painting. In some ways surrealist images are often compared to dreams that we have while we sleep. In fact, many surrealist artists found inspiration in the dreams with have. We all are familiar with the idea that completely unexpected and unrelated objects can suddenly come together in a dream and that is certainly true in a surrealist artwork. For example, a telephone in the form of a lobster or a room is filled with a giant apple........ or, is it a normal apple in a very small room? Surrealist artworks are not artworks that easily make sense or have a clear sense of logic. They might often seem confusing or even muddled, but they are artworks to make you think, what sense can you make for yourself from the strange combinations that you see?

    Figure 1 – Salvador Dali Figure 2 - Rene Magritte

    Figure 3 - Salvador Dali

    Figure 4 - Rene Magritte

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    Assignment 1 – researching surreal art Choose three of the following artists.

    Salvador Dali

    Rene Magritte

    Giorgio de Chirico

    Max Ernst

    Man Ray

    André Masson

    Collect an example of the work of each of the three artists that you have chosen and you would describe

    as 'surrealist'. Copy each of the three artworks into a Word document and add for each of the three the

    following information:

    the name of the artist

    the title of the artwork

    the year that it was made

    the address of the website from which you have copied the picture and most probably also

    found the information about it

    Note: your choices don't have to all come the same website

    Important: if you cannot find all four pieces of information about an artwork, then you are NOT allowed

    to have it as one of your choices. If you can find your way to museum websites or 'web-museums’ you

    will probably find it easier to find the details of the three artworks, rather than just stumbling your way

    through Google.

    Assignment 2 – describing and analyzing surreal art

    Write a short text of 150 words, describing ONE of the three artworks clearly and explain why, in YOUR

    OPINION (no copied text from the Internet) you think that it is an example of a surrealist artwork. This

    text should not mention any art history; it is about looking at the artwork and describing what you see

    and what you think.

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    Creating a surreal composition

    Imagine for a moment that you are given a photograph of a boiled

    egg in an egg cup.

    When you see such a picture and are

    asked to imagine the normal context of

    such an object you are likely to

    immediately start picturing in your

    mind a breakfast table scene with cups

    of coffee, pieces of toast and so on.....

    What would you now imagine as a context that would place the egg

    cup in a surreal context? Imagine the scene where you have

    switched the football world cup for the egg cup. The winning team

    scream, throw their arms in the air and lift the egg cup up for the

    whole world to see, result would certainly have a slightly surreal quality. Such a miss-match can be given

    an even more surreal quality if the scale is an important factor. Imagine the Manhattan skyline and in it

    skyscraper after skyscraper trying to compete for our attention…….. and there rising amongst them all, a

    monumental egg cup!

    Probably the best and most surreal images work with three different elements:

    1. Unexpected or surprising contrasts in context – one object is simply in a place where you

    wouldn’t normally find it.

    2. The scale of parts of the composition has been played with – an object has been hugely enlarged

    (or reduced) to create a dramatic effect.

    3. Strange juxtapositions – two objects that simply don’t belong together have been in placed

    together or combined to create a surreal impression (as with Dali’s Lobster telephone.

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    Assignment 3 – Creating a surreal collision of two paintings

    For this assignment you are going to create a small collage that mixes two existing artworks together in

    a surreal way.

    One painting has to be chosen from the list below:

    Pieter Saenredam, Interior of the Sint Bavokerk, Haarlem

    Pieter Saenredam, Assendelft Church

    Pieter Saenredam, The Nave and Choir of the Saint Catharijnekerk, Utrecht

    Canaletto, Piazza San Marco, Venice

    Canaletto, The Molo Looking West with The Doges' Palace

    Canaletto,The Campo di Rialto

    and a second can be any painting that comes from one of the museum collections that are documented

    on the following webpage:

    Before you choose your second artwork you need to read through the rest of Assignment 3 so that you

    know what you have to do with the picture that you choose.

    Step one

    Whichever of the six paintings you have chosen form the list above, paste the

    image twice into a Word or Publisher document. Stretch the image up so that it

    fills the A4 as much as possible, (like in the diagram on the right). Then print the

    page out in colour.

    Step Two

    All of the possible six paintings by Saenredam or Canaletto make strong use of

    forms of one point perspective. In the top picture of your print out find where

    the vanishing point is that the artist has used to create the depth in his painting.

    Draw neatly on the painting to show how you have worked out where the point

    is. If you are not sure how to do this go to this page:

    and click on the 1 pt. perspective tab on the left hand side of the page. The tutorial should help you to

    work it out.

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    Step Three

    On the second painting you are going to create a ‘surreal collision’ of two paintings. This means that you

    will have to look for a second painting to combine with the first that you chose from the list of six.

    To choose a second painting go to this page:

    Click on one of the tabs for a museum and use the search engine on the site to find a second painting.

    The idea is to create a surreal combination, where things don’t quite seem to make sense, like the

    example below. In order to do this it will probably be best to choose a fairly realistic painting, one with

    objects, buildings or people in it perhaps.

    You now have to combine the two

    pictures. This may be done either on the

    computer using photo editing software

    (if you know how to do it), or by simply

    cutting parts out and gluing them onto

    the first artwork. You may want to

    change the size of some parts of the

    second painting before you print it out

    like in the example on the left where the

    melon has been made a lot bigger.

    Marking criteria

    Whichever way you choose to work you

    are expected to:

    Work neatly and carefully

    Produce a collage that has a

    surreal appearance

    Make a collage where the surreal

    parts actually look like they are part of

    the first painting

    Summary (What you have to hand in for assignment 3)

    Your finished piece of work should be an A4 sheet with

    one of the list six paintings printed out twice.

    On top painting show how you have found the

    vanishing point of the one-point perspective that the

    artist has used.

    On the bottom painting add your own surreal

    elements from a second painting.

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    Assignment 4 – A surrealist drawing

    You will be given a photograph of an everyday object. Everyone will be receiving something different.

    The first task is to cut the object out of the photograph as neatly as possible.

    You now have to create a pencil drawing with a surreal quality where the object has been collaged into

    the drawing, a little like the egg cup was collaged into the Manhattan skyline on the previous page.

    The drawing may be a landscape, an interior, an view of a city or

    possibly a sort of still life, it is up to you to decide and will depend

    largely on the picture that you have been given and the ideas that

    it gives you.

    The pencil drawing should be of the highest possible quality and

    should make good use of light and dark and careful shading. It

    should be a lot more than a simple line drawing.

    The next step is to insert your photographic object in a surreal,

    but somehow believable way into the composition. This is likely

    to mean more than just sticking the photograph onto the

    drawing, you have to make it look like it belongs there. This may

    mean using some extra shading and/or trimming the photo so

    that it, for example, becomes partly hidden by part of the


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    Marking Rubric for assignment 3

    Mark band Descriptors

    10-8 The drawing shows a high level imagination and ambition in the choice of what to draw The shading work with the pencil has been very carefully carried out and has produced a

    good result

    The collage element has been carefully and thoughtfully inserted into the drawing

    The final piece of work has been well cared for and nicely presented

    The final piece of work has an effective ‘surreal’ quality

    7-6 The drawing is satisfactory although could have shown a little more imagination and/or ambition in what was chosen to be drawn

    The shading work shows some understanding of what can be achieved, although the final quality could have been improved with a little more attention to detail

    The collage element has been satisfactorily inserted into the drawing

    The final piece of work has been well cared for and nicely presented

    The final piece of work has some ‘surreal’ quality

    5-4 The drawing shows little imagination and/or ambition in the choices that have been made The shading work is unfinished, untidy or carelessly carried out

    The collage element has been rather thoughtlessly inserted into the drawing

    The final piece of work is looks untidy and poorly cared for

    The final piece of work has minimal ‘surreal’ quality

    3-1 The levels above have not been sufficiently reached

    Note: Work that is unfinished or handed in late will lose marks after the grading from the rubric has

    been completed.

    Surrealism in Advertising

    As we have already seen, surreal qualities have been an important quality in artworks in the past. This

    continues to be the case today too, but not only in the world of painting and sculpture, but also in the

    advertising world. We are talking here of advertisements that present a slightly twisted, extreme or

    humourous approach in order to promote a product. Like in surrealist art, things are not always quite

    what they seem. Take a look at the examples below and in the space by each picture try to explain how

    the advertisement works, or put another way, what is it trying to tell us.

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    Assignment 5 – Advertisement design

    Choose one of the following products:

    Toothpaste Shoe polish

    The Times newspaper An iPhone

    A credit card Extra hot chili sauce

    Greenpeace High quality head phones

    Head ache pills Twining’s tea bags

    Instant coffee powder Anti-wrinkle cream

    DHL express delivery KLM

    The assignment is to think up an advertisement for the product that has a surreal twist to it. We are

    definitely not looking for adverts that state the obvious, quirky, original and slightly surreal are the order

    of the day here.

    Make no mistake, this is a tricky assignment, advertising agencies are paid very large amounts of money

    to do this sort of work. Your very first idea is not necessarily going to be the best one. Allow your mind

    to wander, in the early stages don’t always focus on just one of the products. You are looking for that

    on inspirational idea; make sure that you are ready to note it down when

    it comes along!!!

    Make a number of small sketches that explore rough ideas, try to refine

    the ideas a little more each time as you make your way towards a final

    design plan.

    The finished idea has to be carried using a black fine-liner or ink pen to

    produce a sharp, clearly drawn version of your very best idea.

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    Assignment 6 – Completing the design with

    appropriate text or slogan

    The final part of the design is the addition of a piece

    of text that works in combination with the image

    that you have produced. This text should be like the

    punch line of a joke, short and clear. It should work

    together with the picture you have made and be

    equally entertaining. IT SHOULD NOT SIMPLY STAE


    The text you choose to use should not be written

    onto your design. The drawing needs first to be

    scanned or photographed and the text should be

    added using a computer and make use of an

    appropriate letter-type.

    If you need further inspiration take a look at the

    examples below.


    “Are you sure that the car you bought

    is the one you really wanted?”


    “Have you had your protein


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    Assignments 5 & 6 – Marking Rubric

    Mark Band Descriptors

    1-8 The drawing is imaginative and has clear an interesting surreal elements The drawing is carefully made and creates a well-balanced composition and is very well made

    The advertising idea (concept) is entertaining and original

    The product and the drawing are successfully integrating in both in terms of design and concept

    The text combines well with the image in a surprising way and doesn’t simply state the obvious

    7-6 There are some surreal elements in the design, but the drawing is not imaginative or surprising enough

    The drawing is sufficiently well made, but could have been improved on by giving a little more attention to detail and/or taking greater care with your materials

    The advertising idea is OK, but without really being surprising or truly entertaining

    The link between the product and the drawing is not really convincing

    The text is sufficiently linked with the image, but doesn’t really surprise or entertain

    5-4 The drawing doesn’t really contain surreal elements The drawing is untidily made and/or incomplete

    The advertising idea is difficult to follow or way too obvious, making it uninteresting and unentertaining to look at

    The links between the drawing and the product are difficult to follow

    The text simply states the obvious or seems unconnected with the product.

    3-1 The levels above were not reached

    Note: Work that is unfinished or handed in late will lose marks after the grading from the rubric has

    been completed.

    Caption: “Flevicol: The Ultimate Adhesive”

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    Assignment 7 - Surreal sculpture assignment

    Take a look at the surreal sculptures below. They are made by Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Meg Stein

    (top row) and the three below by Meret Oppenheim. All of them are made by combining two different

    objects that wouldný normally belong together in a surprising and unexpected way.

    For this assignment you are going to do the same. One of your objects is going to be an existing ‘real’

    object and the second one is doing to be made/constructed from plywood that may, if you would like it

    to be, be painted.

    It is an assignment about the coming together of contrasts. Two objects that don’t normally belong

    together, but when put together form some interesting and engaging combination.

    Your chosen ‘real’ object is something that you will have to find yourself at home. Here are a few


    A shoe A glove A hat A glass A mug A plate A knife or fork An old mobile phone

    A hairbrush or comb A candle A piece of fruit An egg One or more pens or pencils A light bulb A vase

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    Three possible ways of working with the plywood

    Interlocking forms – cutting out a number of forms that are designed to create a three-dimensional

    impression by interlocking together

    Layering forms – This approach creates a more solid object, but requires more pieces to create a three-

    dimensional form

    Complex flat image – Essentially what you are creating is a three-dimensional picture. For this approach

    it is expected that the image you create has a higher degree of pictorial complexity

    Before you decide exactly how you are going to approach the wood work part of the project you have to

    decide how you are going to create your contrasting and surreal combination. To help you with this, try

    filling the questionnaire on the next page in, about the object that you are planning to use:

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    What are the exact dimensions of your object?

    What colours does the object have?

    What materials is the object made of?

    How old is the object?

    How long is the object designed to last?

    What textures do the materials/object have?

    What functions does the object have?

    How would you describe the 'opposite' functions of the object?

    List ten objects that in one way or another have extreme contrasts with the object:

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    An example of an artist who also produces work that relies on conflicting qualities, Wim Delvoye:

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    Surrealism in Art and Advertising

    Module questions

    In the forthcoming series of lessons we will be addressing a series of core questions. These

    questions are:

    How and why did Surrealist artists challenge us to look at familiar things around us in new

    and different ways?

    How have surrealist elements found their way into modern day advertising?

    How can text be used in advertising in surprising and oblique ways where it doesn’t simply

    state the obvious?