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Shang Chengxiang

Shang Chengxiang - Cì Jiè - Surrealist Art
Located in Asheville, NC
Shang Chengxiang Cì Jiè Embossed, Signed & Numbered Edition of 88 From the darkness comes light
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Surrealist Prints and Multiples

Materials

Giclée

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A Close Look at surrealist Art

In the wake of World War I’s ravaging of Europe, artists delved into the unconscious mind to confront and grapple with this reality. Poet and critic André Breton, a leader of the Surrealist movement who authored the 1924 Surrealist Manifesto, called this approach “a violent reaction against the impoverishment and sterility of thought processes that resulted from centuries of rationalism.” Surrealist art emerged in the 1920s with dreamlike and uncanny imagery guided by a variety of techniques such as automatic drawing, which can be likened to a stream of consciousness, to channel psychological experiences.

Although Surrealism was a groundbreaking approach for European art, its practitioners were inspired by Indigenous art and ancient mysticism for reenvisioning how sculptures, paintings, prints, performance art and more could respond to the unsettled world around them.

Surrealist artists were also informed by the Dada movement, which originated in 1916 Zurich and embraced absurdity over the logic that had propelled modernity into violence. Some of the Surrealists had witnessed this firsthand, such as Max Ernst, who served in the trenches during World War I, and Salvador Dalí, whose otherworldly paintings and other work responded to the dawning civil war in Spain.

Other key artists associated with the revolutionary art and literary movement included Man Ray, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Frida Kahlo and Meret Oppenheim, all of whom had a distinct perspective on reimagining reality and freeing the unconscious mind from the conventions and restrictions of rational thought. Pablo Picasso showed some of his works in “La Peinture Surréaliste” — the first collective exhibition of Surrealist painting — which opened at Paris’s Galerie Pierre in November of 1925. (Although Magritte is best known as one of the visual Surrealist movement’s most talented practitioners, his famous 1943 painting, The Fifth Season, can be interpreted as a formal break from Surrealism.)

The outbreak of World War II led many in the movement to flee Europe for the Americas, further spreading Surrealism abroad. Generations of modern and contemporary artists were subsequently influenced by the richly symbolic and unearthly imagery of Surrealism, from Joseph Cornell to Arshile Gorky.

Find a collection of original Surrealist paintings, sculptures, prints and multiples and more art on 1stDibs.

Finding the Right prints-works-on-paper for You

Decorating with fine art prints — whether they’re figurative prints, abstract prints or another variety — has always been a practical way of bringing a space to life as well as bringing works by an artist you love into your home.

Pursued in the 1960s and ’70s, largely by Pop artists drawn to its associations with mass production, advertising, packaging and seriality, as well as those challenging the primacy of the Abstract Expressionist brushstroke, printmaking was embraced in the 1980s by painters and conceptual artists ranging from David Salle and Elizabeth Murray to Adrian Piper and Sherrie Levine.

Printmaking is the transfer of an image from one surface to another. An artist takes a material like stone, metal, wood or wax, carves, incises, draws or otherwise marks it with an image, inks or paints it and then transfers the image to a piece of paper or other material.

Fine art prints are frequently confused with their more commercial counterparts. After all, our closest connection to the printed image is through mass-produced newspapers, magazines and books, and many people don’t realize that even though prints are editions, they start with an original image created by an artist with the intent of reproducing it in a small batch. Fine art prints are created in strictly limited editions — 20 or 30 or maybe 50 — and are always based on an image created specifically to be made into an edition.

Many people think of revered Dutch artist Rembrandt as a painter but may not know that he was a printmaker as well. His prints have been preserved in time along with the work of other celebrated printmakers such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol. These fine art prints are still highly sought after by collectors.

“It’s another tool in the artist’s toolbox, just like painting or sculpture or anything else that an artist uses in the service of mark making or expressing him- or herself,” says International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) vice president Betsy Senior, of New York’s Betsy Senior Fine Art, Inc.

Because artist’s editions tend to be more affordable and available than his or her unique works, they’re more accessible and can be a great opportunity to bring a variety of colors, textures and shapes into a space.

For tight corners, select small fine art prints as opposed to the oversized bold piece you’ll hang as a focal point in the dining area. But be careful not to choose something that is too big for your space. And feel free to lean into it if need be — not every work needs picture-hanging hooks. Leaning a larger fine art print against the wall behind a bookcase can add a stylish installation-type dynamic to your living room. (Read more about how to arrange wall art here.)

Find fine art prints for sale on 1stDibs today.