Surrealist Design: Liberating the Imagination

Posted 25/05/11 by Your Studio


Following from Joan Miró’s current influential exhibition at the Tate Modern, we’ve noticed a recent Surreal approach through design, fashion and art. The Surrealist movement sought to “Liberate the imagination” and this can be seen with successful creative approaches to this movement being developed for a contemporary culture.

Miró’s exhibition at the Tate is an iconic display of his rich variety of styles and his strong use of colour as one of the greatest Surrealist painters, these are a couple of his most renowned pieces.

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The narrative Miró creates in his pieces can be seen through the Surrealist movement in other works of art such as Salvador Dali and his Surreal Lobster Telephone which has influenced modern creations such as Lady GaGa’s artistic costumes.

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Gaga seen with a lobster hat and a telephone hat in some of her mad fashion creations. She is often seen to reference classic art pieces in a very literal sense.

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Classic Surrealist artworks have influenced fashion in a literal and stylistic approach that is relevant and beautiful in today’s trends.

Prada’s amazing SS11 look-book uses a Surrealist style, giving the looks narrative using bold pattern cut outs and layering.  Playing with perspective, scale, and mixing bright colours with black and white, two dimensional images are combined with 3d set ups creating beautiful and premium transformational images.

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This style can also be seen in the work of illustrator Romeu Silveira. The use of layering and the cut out effect in his photography creates patterns and formations that when combined form surreal pieces that use polarised colours and geometric shapes.

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Another illustrator using a layering and illustrative cut out style is Jamie Richards. His mood board effect pieces use fashion photography combined with products, architecture and graphics. His work references the surreal effect of forming narratives with imagery. His work has been commissioned by influential brands worldwide from Colette, Paris to Thom Browne, New York.

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Viktor & Rolf’s Surreal cut out dresses from their SS10 collection. A series of tulle dresses with cut outs shaved out of the skirt are a daring but soft and elegant take on the cut out and layering effect of Surrealism.

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Looking at how Surrealism has been influential through design and today’s trends, designers such as Piero Fornasetti combines surrealist influences with a passion of old engravings. Imaginatively transforming lamps, coffeepots, chairs and plates into pieces with humorous and provocative meaning which are still being transformed and developed today.

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Fornasetti borrowed freely from Surrealist artists, producing variations on his motifs including the female face, luminescent fish, other creatures from the deep also playing cards. These chairs are from a collaboration with Anne Lux.

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Other furniture using bold Surrealist and Pop patterns in simple modular formations is seen in work by Established & sons’. Their wood print cabinets by Richard Woods and Sebastian Wrong in their first collaborative work, using bold print on classic 1950′s style furniture and more recently seen at Milan Furniture fair for their collaborative work with Established & Sons’ was their Hay Bale seating blocks.

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Surrealism as a contemporary trend is a bold and beautiful approach to design, fashion and illustration. With simplistic approaches resulting in imaginative and creative compositions within simple forms. Creating 2d images that have depth and intrigue and 3D products that are illusive and pictorial. Seen this year in fashion, art and design YourStudio are sure that there will be much more work to see in this Surrealistic style.

Tagged:Design, Art, Tate Modern, Surrealism, Graphic Design, Established & Sons, Fornasetti, Interior Design, Jamie Richards, Lady Gaga, Miro, Photography, Prada, Richard Woods, Romeu Silveria, Sebastian Wrong, Viktor & Rolf, YourStudio

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