Surrealism in the 1930s and Today

Sami Sjöberg: Science Knocking at Poetry’s Door: The Roaring 1930s of Inquisitions
The progressive journal Inquisitions (1936) aimed to reconcile science, artistic creation, and politics in the cultural milieu of the 1930s. The group behind Inquisitions was formed by the authors Tristan Tzara, Louis Aragon, Roger Caillois and Jules Monnerot. The group was keen on exploring the epistemological potentials of the so-called new physics, such as quantum mechanics. Fifty years ahead of social constructivism, they regarded the production of knowledge as a creative process, with knowledge being created by literary means. The articles on quantum physics, the nature of scientific knowledge, poetics, Marxism, and psychoanalysis manifested the ambitious aim of combining science and affect, framing new ways of thinking where science would benefit from the intuitive, sociological, and mythological aspects of culture.

Anna Weile Kjær: Another Surrealism: Images of a synthetic world
In recent years, new remarkable surrealist currents have permeated contemporary art. Where the claim of historical surrealism was to let the unconscious overflow into society and thereby overturn it, the colonization of the mind in late capitalism has created similar surrealistic visuals, working in reverse.

Sami Sjöberg is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki and an Adjunct Professor at the universities of Helsinki and Tampere. His interests lie in experimental writing, artist’s books and the intersections of art and science, especially in the avant-gardes’ engagement with epistemologies and ecologies.

Anna Weile Kjær is a curator and PhD student at the Dept. of Art and Cultural Studies with the project “Ormehuller – Når tiderne tørner sammen” [Wormholes – When times collide]. She is currently working on the upcoming exhibition Another Surrealism on surrealist currents in contemporary art at Den frie Udstillingsbygning August 26 - October 23, 2022.