Surrealist eyes

Turning one and uniqueness into restlessness; convincing that objects are much more than rays of light and granting brand new realities to the mind: the eye. On its own, always working and the first one to surrender its color upon death.

Beyond these, even though millions can be said about the eye, the biggest tip of the hat comes undoubtedly from the surrealists. That is why, from the most cliché to the most ignored, “surrealist eyes”.

Since we’re talking about clichés, let’s start with Dali. Carrying a passion for working on various disciplines, Dali put on his super-hero cape to save jewelry from the “rich ones” and give them the value they deserve. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stop them from being sold.

After being dumped by his assistant and lover, Lee Miller, of course Man Ray took the most “dada” approach to restrain his anger. Not belonging to a real woman, these unreal tear drops mark a cult scene that carries subtle feelings for the viewers, but very real ones for Man Ray. For this very comprehensibly fictionalized shot, we can say that it was a milestone in shaping Ray’s career – which he would not like us to call so – and developing a visual style of his own. “Glass Tears” is actually a war declaration Ray calls out with all of his passion, over his lover. Apart from carrying this war from his heart to the eyes of his lover, Ray’s second great move is visualizing the tears with glass, a material both fragile and sharp at the same time. The mankind still has some time to figure out this short story, which we cannot even begin to know where it can be articulated.

Now we’re in “The Portrait”, adorning MoMa’s collection since 1956. At what seems to be a simply and realistically set table, the food, waiting for the shiny cutlery to make their first move, wink at us – and we remember that we’re viewing a René Magritte painting. This one glance – if we call it an eye, we will do it injustice – has created an enormous excitement not only in us, but on all of its viewers. Last September – January, Art Institute of Chicago held a collaborative exhibition at MoMa called “The Mystery of Ordinary”, during which, the painting was exposed to x-ray and a piece of “The Enchanted Pose”, artist’s lost work since 1927, was discovered underneath this still table. The work, thought to have become an embarrassment for the artist because of its similarity with Picasso’s work, consists of 4 pieces – and is thought that the artist was trying to get rid of them in similar ways. Although the search for the missing pieces continue, discovery of the ordinary gets us all equally excited.

This time, we look at a city representation composed of pieces that don’t belong with each other. In Herbert Bayer’s “Lonely Metropolitan”, we are greeted by hundred of windows jammed together – only physically neighbor to one another, hands – estranged even from their match, and eyes – confused and don’t know where to look at in the city. Each morning we wake up in bigger metropolises and each little piece in Bayer’s collage become strong representatives of the great depression that suppress all of us with each passing day. Nowadays we watch not buildings but a mass that grows as it is destructed – but this is not the destruction that we want.

Lastly, we would like to end this writing with a product of the millennium, the waterfall eye of the 92-born Brian Oldham – who is obsessed with surrealism and self-portraits. Oldham, living in Los Angeles, builds scenes that include the scornfulness he has inherited from his surrealist ancestors, that require you to view more than once. The composition you see below is his work “Unnamed”, which he formed by putting together found pictures and re-photographed in a dark room. The eye “original” actually belongs to Man Ray – such a coincidence(!).

Dilan Ceylan Emektar