Hope you still are in the easter spirit because I would like to introduce you to this egg-straordinary artist I just discovered: Vladimir Kush. It all started with the painting above that is often credited to Dali (I wrote an article about him yesterday: https://hemmahoshilde.wordpress.com/tag/dali/ ) but it turned out it is actually painted by Vladimir Kush. I think the main reason people confuse the two is because they are both surrealists and on top of that Salvador Dali had a soft spot for eggs (no pun intended). He has done several paintings with eggs and on top of that there exists a Dali museum that is adorned with huge eggs so its no wonder people would get it wrong.
I thought I would use this painting to talk a bit about surrealism and how to read it. Surrealism is a bit confusing term because its not very realistic. It means literally “beyond realism” because they wanted to go “beyond reality”, where there simply would not be a difference between dream and reality anymore. Some people complain that they feel that the artists are “lying” because they are distorting reality in their paintings but many surrealists feel that their way of painting is more honest than traditional art because they really put their soul into their works.
When you look up surrealism wikipedia tells you this:
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. The aim was to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality.” Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself and/or an idea/concept.
This is why surrealism is called surrealism.
There are quite some people that don’t like surrealism. So what is the problem? The issue seems to go deeper than wether or not the painting is beautiful. The problem seems to be that what is painted is not logic. People sometimes wrongly conclude that because the art is illogical it is also nonsense/meaningless but this is hardly ever true. People also suspect that they get played by the artist and that is (partly) true.
Surrealist works feature the element of surprise and like to combine unexpected objects like in this case the sun and an egg. The main problem people encounter while trying to make sense of surrealistic art is that they feel that they are trying to make sense out of non-sense, because surrealists refuse to “play by the rules”. Their art is illogical. While analysing traditional art its usually most important to identify the subject, the who or the what. A painting of Icarus fall is for example more meaningful than a painting about a guy with wings that falls. We come to conclusions about what the subject is by creating theories about whom this might be and than pick the one that seems most likely based on clues. For example if the subject is indeed Icarus I would expect a sun in the painting as well while if it was an angel I might see a halo or a trumpet. Depending on the clues I see in the painting I would accept one theory and disregard the other.
The main reason this approach often fails with surrealism is that surrealists changed the rules of the game. In reality certain things are impossible. For example an egg has a certain size and the sun has a certain size and therefor it is impossible to have an egg as big as the sun. So surrealists may paint the sun and the egg perfectly realistic but it would be impossible in real life. Also in reality things can only be one way or another. A thing is either an egg or the sun; it cannot be both. A surrealist can decide that he paints something that looks like two things at the same time and refuse to answer what the “right” interpretation is. He or she can even go as far as to make it impossible to decide its one of the other.
If we look at first at the painting above we might conclude its an egg because of the eggshell, but than we realise that it the yellow dot cant be a yolk because it is glowing and its in the air. So than we think it is most likely the sun, but than we have the unexplained eggshells. Most of us dont seem to like the third option that it is the sun in a giant egg or rather a picture of the sun coming out of giant egg. Ofcourse such a thing isn’t possible in reality but there is no reason why it can’t exist on paper.
Because of this its much better to deal with surrealism in another way. Don’t worry too much about what it is exactly you look at. Try to just identify as many elements as you possible can and focus on how it makes you feel and what the painter might mean with it instead.
In the case of our painting the title can also help us it is called “sunrise by the ocean”. So were not imagining the sun part. That doesn’t mean we were imagining the egg part. There are many myths that say that the sun came out of an egg laid by a giant bird and so the painting finally starts to make sense to us.
Here I have another painting by the same artist:
Most people will first see a fried egg but once they see the water, realise that they are actually looking at the reflection of the sun in an oval-shaped pool. The title of the work is very fitting: “breakfast on the lake”. If you look closely you see that there are indeed some people picknicking there as well :). Sure you can feel a bit silly for your mistake but I think its witty and fun :).
This painting called “Flight of the sun reminds a bit of the first one, but now we know that we just shouldn’t care about wether it’s “possible” or not and just focus on how nice it would be if we could make a balloon flight in a giant floating eggshell:
This last one by Vladimir Kush I really like as well. It is called “Birth of Love”. I think all in all that surrealistic paintings can be really enjoyable as long as you accept that they are not meant to be true copies of life. They are just dreamlike versions of life. Some of them can have the dark and scary feeling of a nightmare, but some are just sunny and gentle and dreamy like this girl in an egg.
I hope you enjoyed the art of this painter as much as I did when I just discovered him :).