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AH3512: SURREALISM AND ITS LEGACIES IN CONTEMPORARY ART (2022-2023)

Last modified: 22 Feb 2023 10:50


Course Overview

Surrealism was one of the most significant international avant-garde movements of the twentieth century (1924-1968) and has interdisciplinary reach as a theory of knowledge and mode of political activism making it pertinent to study today. This course introduces the core themes and activities of this vibrant art and literary history. Through study of key examples, students hone understandings of Surrealism’s enduring impact on, and practical manifestation in, early twenty-first century culture, from contemporary art to social justice campaigns #MeToo and Black Lives Matter.  

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Catriona McAra

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Either Programme Level 3 or MA In History Of Art - Spanish And Latin American Studies
  • Art History (HA)

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

Surrealism was one of the most significant and controversial international avant-garde movements of the twentieth century (1924-1968). Its enduring impact and practical manifestation can be traced throughout early twenty-first century culture, from contemporary art to recent social justice campaigns like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter.

Beginning with Surrealism’s own attempts to locate itself within an intellectual heritage, stretching from Bosch to Gothic literature and Pre-Raphaelite art, students will explore this mode of counter-modernism and political art at its most forceful. Surrealism’s left-wing resistance to fascism during the interwar period led to its broad censorship as ‘degenerate art’. Consideration will be given to Black Surrealism, especially Suzanne Césaire and Wilfredo Lam, and the movement’s early adoption of postcolonial attitudes.

Attention will also be devoted to surrealism’s vicissitudes and blind spots such as Salvador Dalí’s capitalist embrace of commodity culture and his subsequent expulsion from the movement. Gender politics will be read through feminist-surrealist revisionary histories from the 1970s until the present, considering the work of Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning and Leonor Fini among others.

Surrealist media, ephemera and artistic techniques will be discussed in detail with practical classes on the game of ‘exquisite corpse’ or consequences and an archive visit to engage with primary surrealist material including magazines and collage novels. Surrealist exhibition-making will be covered across two classes from Peggy Guggenheim’s ‘31 Women’ to Lucy Lippard’s eccentric abstraction and the rise of soft sculpture.

Finally, the opportunity to survey the contemporary landscape will include investigation into conceptual artist Lucy Skaer and weird fiction writer China Miéville, among others.   

Associated Costs

DescriptionValue
Field trip to Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. Cost to be confirmed. GBP 0.00

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers


Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 30 August 2024 for 1st half-session courses and 20 December 2024 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

Essay

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 30
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

Article / book review. 

Written feedback; in-person feedback on request

Indicative assessment week: week 6 of teaching. Feedback in week 8.

Word Count 3000
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualAnalyseBuild up knowledge of surrealist precedents for the interpretation of contemporary artistic examples
ConceptualApplyDemonstrate a broad understanding of surrealist media and techniques, including, but not limited to, the readymade, collage, frottage, automatic writing, and the exquisite corpse
ProceduralEvaluateShow a thorough understanding of feminist-surrealist discourses and their application to a range of primary surrealist examples
ReflectionCreateDemonstrate confidence in organising and delivering written and oral academic work on a defined concept and an essay

Presentation and Participation

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 10
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

Written feedback after presentation; in-person feedback on request.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualAnalyseBuild up knowledge of surrealist precedents for the interpretation of contemporary artistic examples
ConceptualApplyDemonstrate a broad understanding of surrealist media and techniques, including, but not limited to, the readymade, collage, frottage, automatic writing, and the exquisite corpse
ProceduralEvaluateShow a thorough understanding of feminist-surrealist discourses and their application to a range of primary surrealist examples
ReflectionCreateDemonstrate confidence in organising and delivering written and oral academic work on a defined concept and an essay

Visual test

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 20
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

Visual test on determined questions.

Written feedback and additional verbal with student as required.

Indicative assessment week: week 12 of teaching. Feedback in week 13.

 

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualAnalyseBuild up knowledge of surrealist precedents for the interpretation of contemporary artistic examples
ConceptualApplyDemonstrate a broad understanding of surrealist media and techniques, including, but not limited to, the readymade, collage, frottage, automatic writing, and the exquisite corpse
ProceduralEvaluateShow a thorough understanding of feminist-surrealist discourses and their application to a range of primary surrealist examples
ReflectionCreateDemonstrate confidence in organising and delivering written and oral academic work on a defined concept and an essay

Essay

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 40
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

Essay on determined questions.

Written feedback and additional verbal feedback with students as required.

Indicative assessment week: week 10 of teaching. Feedback in week 13.

Word Count 3000
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualAnalyseBuild up knowledge of surrealist precedents for the interpretation of contemporary artistic examples
ConceptualApplyDemonstrate a broad understanding of surrealist media and techniques, including, but not limited to, the readymade, collage, frottage, automatic writing, and the exquisite corpse
ProceduralEvaluateShow a thorough understanding of feminist-surrealist discourses and their application to a range of primary surrealist examples
ReflectionCreateDemonstrate confidence in organising and delivering written and oral academic work on a defined concept and an essay

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Resit Assessments

Essay

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 100
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

Written and oral feedback

Word Count 5000
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ReflectionCreateDemonstrate confidence in organising and delivering written and oral academic work on a defined concept and an essay
ProceduralEvaluateShow a thorough understanding of feminist-surrealist discourses and their application to a range of primary surrealist examples
ConceptualAnalyseBuild up knowledge of surrealist precedents for the interpretation of contemporary artistic examples
ConceptualApplyDemonstrate a broad understanding of surrealist media and techniques, including, but not limited to, the readymade, collage, frottage, automatic writing, and the exquisite corpse

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