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Author: Abigail Susik

Surrealist sabotage and the war on work is an art-historical study devoted to international surrealism’s critique of wage labour and its demand for non-alienated work between the 1920s and the 1970s. The Introduction and Chapter 1 frame the genealogy of surrealism’s work refusal in relation to its inter-war investment in ultra-left politics, its repudiation of French nationalism, and the early twentieth-century development of sabotage theory in the labour movement. Chapter 2 proposes an interpretation of surrealist automatism in 1920s France as a subversion of disciplined production in the emerging information society and also reperformance of feminised information labour. Chapter 3 is a study of autoeroticism and autonomy in Spanish surrealist Óscar Domínguez’s depictions of women’s work tools, such as the sewing machine and the typewriter, in works of art across media during the 1930s. Chapter 4 provides a historical account of labour activism in Chicago surrealism during the 1960s and 1970s, including an analysis of the Chicago surrealist epistolary exchange with German philosopher Herbert Marcuse. An Epilogue considers the paintings that German surrealist Konrad Klapheck made depicting sewing machines, typewriters, and other tools of information labour during the 1960s, in conjunction with related works by other surrealists such as Giovanna. As a whole, Surrealist sabotage and the war on work demonstrates that international surrealism critiqued wage labour symbolically, theoretically, and politically, through works of art, aesthetics theories, and direct actions meant to effect immediate social intervention.

Abigail Susik

the American surrealist Man Ray on the lecture-hall screen: some of the earliest representations that surrealists self-consciously constructed for the movement in those early moments of its inauguration. My students and I are discussing psychic automatism for the first time together, and my presentation quotes the key line from André Breton’s 1924 Manifesto of Surrealism : automatic writing ( l’écriture automatique ) expresses the ‘actual functioning of thought’, and moreover, automatism is ‘dictated by

in Surrealist sabotage and the war on work
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Michel Zimbacca’s L’Invention du monde
Michael Löwy

. Oceanic art represents, according to André Breton – in his famous 1948 essay ‘Oceania’ – ‘the greatest effort ever to account for the interpenetration of mind and matter, to overcome the dualism of perception and representation’. He goes so far as to suggest that the surrealist path, since its beginning – and throughout the 1920s – ‘is inseparable from the seduction, the fascination’ exercised by the works of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the North Pole, or New Ireland (Oceania). 4 Why such a strong attraction? Here is the explanation proposed by Breton in

in Surrealism and film after 1945
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Leonora Carrington’s The House of Fear and The Oval Lady
Anna Watz

‘Who am I?’ This question famously opens André Breton's Nadja (1928) and reverberates throughout surrealism's various artistic expressions. 1 Indeed, a troubling of identity in the light of Sigmund Freud's theories of the unconscious is a key facet not only of Breton's oeuvre but also, for example, of Marcel Duchamp's alter-ego experiments, Claude Cahun's self-portraits, the collage novels of Max Ernst, and, as I will argue in this chapter, the early short stories of Leonora Carrington (1917

in Surrealist women’s writing
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Autobiography and the imaginary self
Michael Leonard

imaginary as well as the possibility of their exchange and fusion. In this exploration, an affinity can be traced between Garrel’s practice and the Surrealist poetics of André Breton. This period also reveals Garrel’s interest in tracing the creative lives of the film-makers of his generation, a subject broached in Elle a passé tant d’heures through the incorporation of interviews with Chantal Akerman and Jacques Doillon in the diegesis of the film. The sketches with Doillon and Akerman form a prelude to a documentary made for French television about the so-called ‘post

in Philippe Garrel
Abigail Susik

life, rather than art’s disappearance into life). In this initial section, I establish the context and background – the genealogy, if you will – of the French surrealist declaration of the war on work in 1925 in relation to the inter-war writings of surrealist theorists such as André Thirion, André Breton, and others. I also evaluate surrealism’s efforts in the 1920s and 1930s towards synergy with the proletarian cause despite their commitment to voluntary unemployment. While the surrealist discourse of

in Surrealist sabotage and the war on work
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Dafydd W. Jones

itself uncritically validated the error-strewn assertions that gained currency out of André Breton’s appropriation of Cravan for the Paris Dada legacy and into Surrealism some decades earlier.3 Breton had written in 1932, for instance: During the war, [Cravan] gave several riotous ‘lectures’ in New York, in the course of which, for example, he undressed on stage until the hall was completely evacuated by the police … At around the same time, in Spain, he challenged the black boxer Ben Johnson [sic], the world champion … he was a curious man whose legend may well last

in The fictions of Arthur Cravan
Christophe Wall-Romana

1 From literary modernism to photogénie Mass culture and cinepoetry Born in 1897, Jean Epstein belongs to the generation that came of age during the protracted carnage of World War One, as did André Breton (b. 1896), Tristan Tzara (b. 1896), René Clair (b. 1898), or László Moholy-Nagy (b. 1895). Recall that this was not one conflict among many, but the deadliest war in history, with more than 30 million dead, and an average of over 3,000 soldiers killed daily. Such mad figures resulted from unprecedented technological ‘progress’ deployed on all sides: huge

in Jean Epstein
Krzysztof Fijałkowski

substantial numbers of them settling in and around New York. They included some of the most significant members of the group: André Breton – by now the movement’s undisputed leading light – and his soon to be estranged wife, Jacqueline, but also figures such as Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Robert Lebel, André Masson, Roberto Matta, Gordon Onslow Ford, Kurt Seligmann, Yves Tanguy, and Isabelle Waldberg; while international travel was difficult, correspondence and exchange was still possible for those based in Mexico and the Caribbean, such as Leonora Carrington, Aimé and

in Surrealism and film after 1945
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Le Sang d’un poète
James S. Williams

such a decadent work. It was not until a year later, on 20 January 1932, that Le Sang d’un poète was publicly shown during a gala evening at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier although it was a poor print, truncated by at least one scene, and badly projected. During its month-long run at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier, the film provoked the particular ire of André Breton and his band of surrealists who declared

in Jean Cocteau