“As beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table.” André Breton, known best as the founder of Surrealism, referred to this line by Comte de Lautréamont as the single phrase that perfectly describes the phenomenon of Surrealism. The surrealist artists painted curious and often disturbing scenes that lacked logic. With photographic precision, they created bizarre juxtapositions of everyday objects placed in unexpected settings. By adding an element of surprise to their artworks, they aimed at re-creating human dreams to resolve contradictions between reality and dreams.
Hungarian Artist Bill Domonkos follows in the footsteps of the surrealist masterminds who rocked the art scene in the 1920s. He makes otherworldly animated GIFs altering, editing and reassembling public domain images. The artist takes advantage of special effects and digital art objects to create a feeling of absurdity and to elicit the ineffable, the sublime. As the results, the loops of motion incorporated into archival photos will have you hypnotized.
Each of his GIFs are open to interpretation as the gates of hell – for the sinners. If you take his seemingly wacky artworks seriously, you can find quite a few subtle metaphors. Let’s take a look at some of them and try to analyze them – no matter how pointless this endeavor may seem, it can be fun!
The foot-wide Elizabethan ruffs bear an unnerving resemblance to a gigantic maggot devouring the head of the sitter. On the other hand, they also look like a bunch of daisies fluttering in the wind. A metaphor of uncertainty, insecurity, or anxiety? However, it’s plain as day that a sitter who twists and turns his head like this would surely drive a painter up the wall.
The rotating scissors seem both menacing and truly mesmerizing. Have you seen cats playing with scissors? I doubt so. The fluffies prefer balls of yarn instead. However, humans cut yarn threads with scissors. Is it a metaphor for secret knowledge and curiosity or just a lovely gif of a cute furry pet staring at a revolving object that has no meaning at all? Judge for yourself.
Inevitability of death?
Death is unavoidable. Bill Domonkos claims it also can be funny. It’s not a secret that each of us will undoubtedly die. Then why on earth should we cast a shadow upon the feast of life thinking about the inevitable end? Hey, death, are you ready for the end or is the mortal body gasping for breath?
Forks are among the most mundane objects we use in our daily life. We got used to them so much that we hardly notice how aggressive they look. Actually, you can harm or even kill someone with this piece of cutlery. Juxtaposed with a young, almost bare girl, a phallic fork floating in the air may be a metaphor for temptation. The first sex is painful, yet so desirable – just like a piece of scrumptious cake well-mannered girls eat with a fork, never with fingers.
In the context of Surrealism, an eye is the organ we use to see the objects of reality. When we fall asleep, we close our eyes. We plunge into the world of dreams, which constitutes an ethereal reality in its own right. Dreams are constructed by our mind, yet they are so thrilling, so tangible sometimes. The artist depicts a tunnel into a woman’s eye – the symbol of reality – as the entrance into the domain of the unreal. He unites the two worlds just like his fellows-in-surrealist-arms did almost a century ago.