Cedric began the evening by showing a variety of slides by different Surrealist artists, some were well-known such as Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Man Ray and Magritte. He also told us about some lesser-known surrealist artists such as Odilon Redon, who is regarded as one of the predecessors of the surrealist art movement, or Yves Tanguy who explored dreams and the unconscious through his paintings of misshapen rocks and lunar landscapes.
The second half of the evening Cedric encouraged everyone to produce some surrealist inspired work of our own. He had told us about Andre Masson, who developed automatic drawing where he would allow his hand to move freely across the page or canvas without a conscious plan. Next Cedric experimented with creating communal drawings. We were given around 60 seconds to add our contribution before the paper was passed to the person on our right. We continued until our original piece of paper returned to us.
Cedric also introduced the idea of decalcomania where paint is squeezed between two surfaces and then pulled apart. At one point in the second half of the evening Cedric directed a communal set of paintings by giving each artist 60 seconds to work on a sheet of paper before passing it on to the next person. The results were surprisingly successful, and one might even say ‘surreal’.
Margaret and John clearly enjoyed seeing the result of their efforts with this technique.