Art Strategies

Class 1: Chien, picnic and death

Un Chien Andalou

Though commonly seen at their time as “notoriously”, I actually enjoy watching Un Chien Andalou.  Well, maybe enjoy is not the right word, but rather fascinated.


I can always standing in front of Dali’s painting for a long time can’t stop looking at those details, ants crawling, golden eggs, silent mountains, thin legs of the elephants… and also enchanted by the sense of isolation and dreamy. So are the details of Un Chien Andalou, the discomfort when watching eyeball sliced,anxiety of ant crawling out of man’s hand, the contrast between the delight music and the in-all dark tone of the film…

The film seems really Freudian to me. I especially like the detail when on 2:10 of the film, the man is wearing baby’s clothing and riding the bike, which shows the crave of the “tender gentleman” of the woman, he then fell down the bike helplessly. And the woman went up petting and kissing the man like a lover and a mother. To me, that box in the woman’s hand shows her unconscious sexual desires, and the gun, however shows the man’s deepest impulses. (but that was no doubt also shown in the film in some rather straightforward ways)


The symbols in Un Chien Andalou reminds me of The Sun Will Also Rises(太阳照常升起), a Chinese film by Jiang Wen which I watch more than five times.


woman feet


man with gun


The Luncheon on the Grass

Ok, I wanna talk about this painting is because I don’t think it is worth talking before I read the critics.

As the most well-known painting from 1863 Salon des Refuses in Paris, this painting use rather calm background and stil life which unlike in  Un Chien Andalou that full of disturbing images. The first thing I saw on this painting is this female nude that is the brightest, which create this strong contrast with the rather dark background. Then we will notice the poses of the three people, which seems really classy and were actually taken from Raphael. (Look at right & down part of the painting!)

Judgement of Paris Engraving ca. 1515

Unlike Raphael, what we see on the painting is not a gathering  picnic for three angels, but rather, they are human beings. We can see that the woman was sitting on her clothes, which means she could be wearing the nice blue dress before she came here. and the two well dressed men make her nude a puzzle to the restless discussions of the public.

What strikes me more was the stare she had, straight and right to the viewer. And kinda of creepy when looking at this alone at your laptop in the middle of night…like now. Maybe to stare is an happy invitation, waited to be judged or just a despise at the crowd like us who just want to know everything.



“Media is art.” Said Andy Warhol.

Warhol paint the documentary photo of the frozen moment of death with luscious color. Which disaster may seems less painful in the first place, but it is actually crueler. Unlike news, we can’t get exact information about where, why, who about this disaster, however we only feel the pure sadness.


From what they all have in common is this rather direct message that viewer can easily perceive, and they are all advanced and maybe shocking of their own time. However, Un Chien Andalou seems to based on the human subconscious obsessions,  The Luncheon on the Grass is Manet’s own testimony of refusal to conform the convention of the time, and Disaster is  the artist’s usage of newspaper material and exam the themes of death and disaster.

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