Astrid Ruffa

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Littérature et imaginaires sociaux: autour de Dali surréaliste

Dalinian morphologies. The imaginative world and verbal practices of the « concrete irrationality »

This thesis aims to explore Dali's surrealist writings and to lay emphasis on the richness, the originality and the paradoxes of an imaginative world which was highly considered by Breton's group. The paranoiac-critical method, which the Catalan artist elaborated round the 1930s and which he carried on developing throughout his life, not only puts forward a conception of surrealism quite different from Breton's but also inspired his contemporaries (Breton included). Moreover, beside his historical relevance, Dali's contribution to surrealism constitutes an interesting model to approach reality. The cognitive magnitude of his method has too often been overlooked; in fact, Dali's imaginative world announces a post-modern way of thinking.
At first, I seek to bring out the importance of the paranoiac-critical method in the French surrealist context by comparing Breton's and Dali's manifestos. Through this comparison, I discuss Dali's ambiguous positioning towards Breton's theoretical principles, which allows me to highlight the specific "semiotic sensibility" of the artist. On the one hand, Dali seems to cleverly exploit the properties of the iconic sign as it is defined by Peirce. He is interested in the resemblance between sign and referent and in the possibility to depict and to get to know objects through other objects by revealing analogical structures between them. On the other hand, Breton's theory of surrealism is based on an indexical system (in the sense of Peirce): in automatic writing, words become marks authenticating the experience of a subject having faced the surrealist "voice".
After having sketched the specific conceptual sphere of Dali and the concrete functioning of his manifestos, I take into account two thinking models which, in my view, have nourished and consolidated the theoretical foundation of his cognitive method: the photographic paradigm and Einstein's notion of space-time.

The memory processes in George Perec's work

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