The magnetic fields

In 1920, the French poet and essayist André Breton co-wrote with the author Philippe Soupault, the book “Les Champs Magnetiques” (The Magnetic Fields).

The book was written using so-called “automatic writing”, in which ones thoughts were allowed to flow freely, transcribing them onto paper with no kind of rational, moral or stylistic censorship. Thoughts were thus threaded together, the only link being those established by the writer’s own subconscious.

The actual structure of the book illustrates its purpose of writing down the natural momentum of thought. Each chapter ends at the point when the author stopped writing at the end of the day.

The publication in 1924 of Breton’s own Surrealist Manifesto, was a call for a change in art. As well as vindicating the role that chance plays in the creative process, Surrealism in painting and sculpture was also described as a visual manifestation of poetry. More constructive than its predecessor, Dadaism, Surrealism appealed to Avant-garde artists such as Man Ray, Francis Picabia, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró, whom Breton himself considered to be the most surreal of the Surrealists.

You can see here Joan Miró’s 1925 oil painting Man with a Pipe, which was painted two years before he “murdered” painting. This picture is one of the most well- known dream paintings, with which Miró transformed his artistic language. After coming into contact with the Dadaists, and later with Surrealism, he decided to explore transparency and immateriality.

We can see a rounded, anthropomorphic figure, merging into a grey background streaked with blue, and with a single line of red in the upper right- hand corner. The abstraction that Miró constructed here contains details such as the straight lines that emerge from the almost unrecognizable pipe referred to in the title, and which was a recurrent symbolic image in his work.

(c) (R) 2012, MUSMon com S.L.