In my research project I intent to look at gender issues and the role of women in the surrealist movement. The surrealist movement is an artistic movement that dealt with visual artworks and writings of the members of that group. Artistic works in the surrealist movement depict the element of unforeseen concurrences, aspect of astonishment and non sequitur. Artists of the surrealist movement regard their artistic works as the expression of thoughtful movement and as being an artefact.
I will use several research sources in this research. Chadwick W, 1991, women artists and the surrealist movement, is one of the books that I will use in this research. This book will provide biographical information, color illustrations and some of the major female contributors of the surrealist movement. The book will provide biographical information that might have influenced the works of the women artists during the surrealist movement.
It will identify the role played by female artists in the movement. Another research source that will be used in this research is the history of surrealism movement by Durozoi G, 2004. This book will show history and spread of surrealist movement into various continents such as US, Africa, and India. The book will show images made of various types of media such as painting, poetry, sculpture, film and fiction. Moreover, the book will also provide biographies of the major and minor artists of the movement. To complete this research, I will rely on the works of art of Frieda Kahlo, Leonora Carrington and Leonar Fini.
Surrealism refers to an artist movement of the 19th century that is famous for the visual artworks and writings of the group members, Chadwick W. 1991, pp 196.This artistic movement show the aspect of astonishment, unforeseen concurrences and non sequitur of the works of art of the 19th century. Many artists within the surrealist movement claim that their work is an expression of the idealistic movement. Their works are a representation of artefact. The surrealist movement developed during the First World War from the dada activities and the movement was based in Paris. The movement spread into various countries and it affected literature, visual arts and music of various countries Durozoi G, 2004, pp 78. The First World War led to the scatter of artists into several countries.
The surrealist artists used dream analysis as a method of producing their works of art. They also used the idea of juxtaposition of artworks to produce logical effects in their artworks. Relationship between juxtaposed images helped in the creation of emotional power and artistic reality in the works of the surrealist movement artists. The surrealist movement wanted to transform personal, social and cultural experiences of the artists.
The movement was based on the conviction in better reality forms of formerly ignored groups. The movement was also aimed at devising new mechanisms of solving the major problems of life. Surrealist movement is critiqued for being a male movement that has no consideration of the female artifacts Durozoi G, 2004, pp 108. Only a few female artists are recognized in the surrealist movement and this shows the extent of female dishonor in the surrealist movement. The movement is seen to have ancient attitudes toward female that include praising them symbolically through typecasts and chauvinist norms. The movement shows that women were used to represent higher values but they were changed into objects of desire and mystery for the men.
Body of the research paper
This research shows gender issues and the role of women in the surrealist movement. Samples of the artistic works of male and female artists of the surrealist movement were compared to show the differences between genders in the work of art of the artistic movement. The samples of the works of art of the surrealist movement that were compared showed a great difference between the works of female artists and those of male artists in the surrealist movement.
The hypothesis of the research is that women artists did not play significant roles in the surrealist movement and their artworks were undermined and given little or no consideration. The findings of the research clearly show that in the surrealist movement, women were used as muse for the men and artists in their own right. In the surrealist movement, women were best known as companion wives and lovers of the famous and well-known female artists. Women artists were also found to use color in their paintings to express their emotions.
Several people have written about gender issues and the role of women in the surrealist movement. According to Chadwick W. 1991, pp 27, women writers in the surrealist movement were not considered to be at the same level with the male artists. Female artists were ignored and their works of art were not valued like those of the male counterparts. According to Durozoi G, 2004, pp 78, women artists of the surrealist movement were undervalued and their artworks were ignored. Most of them used color to show the emotions they had due to the way their work was undervalued in their societies. Bradley F, 1997, pp 45 says that, in the surrealist movement, women were known as companion wives and lovers of better know and highly valued male counterparts of the movement. The artworks of the female artists of the surrealist movement were not published because most of it was under valued. In addition, their reference in the field of art and literature was minimal and fragmentary.
The surrealist movement was egoistic, Chadwick W. 1991, pp 124. The manifestations of works of art of the surrealist movement were structured by sense of self. The activities of the surrealist movement shaped and processed by the ego. They were a representation of the conscious minds of men regarding the value of women in the society. According to Chadwick W. 2010, very little of the works of female artists was in public collections. In addition, their works were not considered for higher learning in art and design. The role of women in the surrealist movement was general, Chadwick W. 2010. According to Durozoi G. 2004, pp 87, the surrealist movement was full of patriarchal ideology where only the male artists were valued.
Female artists of the surrealist movement were marginalized. Female artists like Leonar Fini did not consider themselves surrealists although she worked closely with members of the movement like Leonora Carrington, Chadwick W. 2010. The men of the surrealist movement did not recognize women and their works of art. According to Chadwick W. 1991, pp 176, the works of female artists of the surrealist movement such as Leonora, Frieda, and Leonar is alive with images that show fantasy. The imagery machine used in the surrealist movement shows the attempts of men to limit female energy for their own purposes. Surrealist movement also shows women hatred among the male artists who failed to value the works of the female artists. In this connection, the male artists intended to destroy the female artists of that time.
Women artists in the surrealist movement played a general role. According to Chadwick W. 1991, pp 198, women artists had little or no voice during the surrealist movement. Though they were in creating artworks, their work was less valued in the society while the work of their male counterparts was considered in many occasions. In addition, few of the works of women artists featured in the exhibitions while the works of men remained popular in exhibitions and museums. Surrealist female artists ensured that their works were full of technical proficiency. For example, the works of Leonar Fini were presciently painted and this made them look presentable, Chadwick W. 2010. Male artists in the surrealist movement felt that female counterparts were not equal artists. This made the male artists to force the female artists to work within their restrictions.
- Women played minor roles in the surrealist movement and their artworks were undervalued.
- there was male chauvinism in the surrealist movement with male artists disregarding the works of female writers
Limitations of the research
This research has limitations because it relies on published sources that may not be based on facts.
Intensive reading was carried out in various books and websites to know gender issues and role of women in the surrealist movement. The works of female artists considered in the research was that of Leonora, Frieda, and Leonar. Information contained in the books, websites was recorded and analyzed, and a conclusion was made about gender issues and role of women in the surrealist movement.
Discussion and results
The works of the female artists in the surrealist movement were ignored. This is according to the works of major female artists of the surrealist movement. The female artists of the surrealist movement disassociated themselves with surrealism movement because their male counterparts ignored them. Surrealist women were ignored and this included the ones who were active in the movement like the likes of Frieda Kahlo, Leonar Fini, and Leonora Carrington. The works of the male artists of the surrealist movement shows issues of deliverance and freedom and how it can be achieved through unification with the female artists but on the contrary the works of female artists were neglected.
Women were recognized as objects of male aspiration and as a vehicle to be used by men to achieve success. In the minds of men, women were bearers and not makers of meaning in the society and that is why their artistic works were undermined. Women of the surrealist movement were also seen as oppressed and attractive hence men used them to bear meaning but not to create it. The male artists in the surrealist movement controlled all the matters related to art and their female counterparts worked within their restrictions. The female artists of the surrealist movement did very little on their own because the male artists had taken control of the surrealist movement. They dependent on the male artists for most of the things they did in the surrealist movement.
The results of this research show that women artists were neglected and undermined in the surrealist movement. Most of their works were not published and a reference to their work of art was limited and fragmentary. Male artists in the surrealist movement played the role of meaning making while women in the surrealist movement were meaning bearers. This clearly shows that women were of low value in the surrealist movement and that is why many of them denied their membership to the surrealist movement.