Max Ernst Essay

1390 words - 6 pages

The use of symbols in surrealism and the meaning within these paintings by Max Ernst played a significant influence on the notion of my experimental art making. He was a German painter, sculptor and a graphic artist but also considered as one of the primary pioneers of the Dada and Surrealism movement. They aimed to revolt against everyday reality by exploring the construction of the unconscious mind. By exploring the mind and transforming reality by surveying the desires of the human nature, it allows one to contemplate on the actuality and the realities of our world. Uniquely, Ernst created his own set of techniques such as collage, frottage, grattage, decalcomania and oscillation in order to convey his symbolism of his art making – but it also later incentivized artists such as Jackson Pollock and William De Kooning, revealing his such influence and impact in the art world.

Max Ernst’s work has several dimensions and characteristics, most notably the dubious character of his illustrated worlds that have contributed to the appeal of the audiences. His prime concern was to present irresolvable isolation. As his father inspired his son a penchant for challenging the authority whilst being interested in painting and sketching nature, Ernst was motivated to take up painting himself. Moreover, he studied philosophy and psychology in 1909 at the Bonn University but also later dropped out. Most notably, during the course he visited an asylum and studied the work of the insane, a study inspired by Freud’s theory of the unconsciousness. This proved to be absolutely crucial in his development as an artist and took many ideas incorporated in Freud’s work and used them in order to identify himself – like other surrealists, he used it as a basis of surrealist works. Ernst studied his own unconscious mind in order to expose the myth of the creative genius – the reasoning behind his own work.

It is clear that his art does not display a constant development, but rather marked by themes, breaks and tenacious new beginnings. Ernst’s works were predominately figurative, his outstanding art techniques inject a spice of abstractness into his works. But he was also not concerned in producing a coherent, clear oeuvre in order to have an easier success on the art market, stating that “Painting is not for me either decorative amusement, or the plastic invention of felt reality; it must be every time: invention, discovery, revelation”. He has successfully created his own techniques such as collage, frottage, grattage, decalcomania and oscillation, which later influenced many popular artists. In particular, the oscillation technique that foregoes to control to a large extent, results in compositions comprising circles and lines. Ernst made use of oscillation just as a starting point, allowing him to transform the structures he attained in this sense into new pictorial worlds. His use of oscillation has provided the basis.

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