Art Gallery AFK

Photochemical Manipulation - Concepts of New Vision and Surrealism Photography (theoretical)



In the twentieth century, the French Surrealism and Russian Constructivism were the exponents of the rupture with the purist photographic dogma "verisimilitude."

Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy occupied leading positions in this area. The first acclaimed the manipulation of the medium components as formal vocabulary in the strategies of surrealist production. Moholy-Nagy chose the Photogram as the paradigm of the abstract configuration of the light, an aesthetic that was mainly pedagogical and had the function to "expand" the visual perception. These are the concepts that we seek to understand.


Content / Objectives


The aim of the course is to understand the concepts and techniques that defined the photographic image inside modernism as aesthetic and anti-aesthetic, with special emphasis on production of the surrealist strategies.


I. The "purist” concepts and techniques / methodology. The paradigm of image formation “believable”: balance / compromise between level of contrast and detail in the high and low lights. The rupture with the “direct” formalism and the "pure" aesthetic Stieglitz conceptions.


II. The Vanguard art and Photography.

II.a. The natural relationships of “direct” photography with Surrealism and the Constructivism.


III. The Max Ernst assemblages and the “beauty” of Lautréamont.

III.a. The surreal precursor images: the disparate associations.

III.b. Man Ray - L 'enigme d'Isidore Ducasse. “Beau comme la reecontre fortuite, sur une table de dissection, d´une machine à coudré et d´un parapluie”.


IV. André Breton and “Convulsive Beauty”.


V. Bataille and the “Formless” concept in surrealism photography.


Duration and timing of sessions


8 h ( 4 sessions of 2 h). Saturday 6.00 pm - 8.00 pm

Art Gallery AFK, Lisbon



Contact AFK for more information by email ( or phone +351 919046376