Monday, September 21, 2009
ron slate on andrew zawacki
We often think of Surrealism as playfulness. Some traditionalists think of it as having corroded artistic standards. But French modernism grew out of a fear of cultural dissolution. Paris was under siege during the age of Manet and again during the youth of Andre Breton and Soupault. Like the Italian tradition of austere melancholy as expressed in Leopardi, French artists and writers recognized a suffering that is coincident with the foundation of life itself -- not a common theme in English or American poetry. It’s sadness that guards against inauthenticity, claims of moral rectitude, and shallow emotion.