This book begins by considering responses by French artists to the First World War, showing how Purism, Dada, and early Surrealism are related to the ethos of post-war reconstruction. The authors then discuss the language of construction in places as dissimilar as France, Germany, and the Soviet Union; the contrasting demands of the utility and decoration of objects and paintings; and the relationship of surrealism to questions of sexuality and gender and to Freudian theory. The book concludes by addressing the widespread debate over realism in art: whether it represents an alternative to the elitism of the avant-garde or whether avant-garde art should play a role in the development of a modern realism.
Francis Frascina and Gill Perry are Lecturers in Art History, Nigel Blake is Lecturer in Educational Technology, and Charles Harrison is Staff Tutor and Reader in Art History at the Open University. Briony Fer and Tamar Garb are Lecturers in Art History at University College, London University.
Part 1 'This liberty and this order'- Art in France after the First World War, David Batchelor: Naturalism, Classicism, the School of Paris Groups, magazines, programmes Purism and L'Esprit Nouveau Dada From Literature to La Revolution Surrealiste Common grounds Contested space References. Part 2 The language of construction by Briony Fer: Russian Constructivism The language of construction and the construction of language Disembodied form - construction and the gendered self Standards of efficiency Luxury, utility and the decorative Rationalization and ritual Conclusion References. Part 3 Surrealism, Myth and Psychoanalysis by Briony Fer: Surrealism and difference Breton's Nadja the 'uncanny' Breton and Bataille The role of psychic disorder in the Surrealist aesthetic Objects of desire Muse/artist Beginnings, again References. Part 4 Realisms and Realities by Paul Wood: Realism in the 1930S Soviet Russia Weimar Germany Towards Socialist Realism Counter-conclusion.