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Accessorizing a Room in the Surrealist Aesthetic

Accessorizing a Room in the Surrealist Aesthetic

It was Salvador Dalí who said, “Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” Do you remember how as children we weren’t afraid to let our imaginations run wild? Why is it that as we grow into adulthood, we shut off our sense of creativity and joie de vivre?

It seems we have begun to make even stylistic choices based on what people may say. We decide not to wear that jacket or that hat because we’re worried someone might say something negative. By doing this, we are limiting ourselves in our originality and are squelching our free spirit.

We belong only to ourselves, and as such we should be able to dress and design our interiors however we please. It was also Salvador Dalí who said, “Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.” So then why are we so afraid of doing something new? Our space is our own, and we can design it in whatever way we want. Just look at what the Surrealist Movement did for art. We can bring this fearless aesthetic into our homes, and we should. Here are some tips to get your rooms into spirit of the movement.

Giving Imagination Physical Form
How can we channel the excitement, organicism and mysticism of the Surrealist Movement in our interiors? First, we need to know what the key elements of the Surrealist Movement are:

  • Juxtaposition
  • Surprise
  • Symbols
  • Imagery
  • Arabesque lines
  • Linearity
  • Geometry
  • Texture
  • Color

The French writer André Breton described Surrealism as a “psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express—verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other matter—the actual functioning of thought.” Surrealism is about giving our thoughts physical shape and form. To bring these musings to life in our home, let’s look at some fixtures that best exude the dream-like quality of Surrealism.

The Color Palette
Color has the astonishing ability to sway and challenge our perceptions of space. Warm colors such as mustard yellow and sunburnt orange fill us up to the brim with happiness. Cool colors such as azure blue and forest green help us to feel tranquil and calm. What mood do you want to exude in your space? It’s up to you; do you want you and your guests to feel stimulated and energetic, or composed and serene? The Surrealists used color to create feeling, you can too.

The Clock
We’re all familiar with Dalí’s melting clocks in his most well-known painting, The Persistence of Memory. In this work we can see multiple melting clocks set in a seascape of golds, blues and pinks along with a fantastical, fleshy creature. The painting is as remarkable as it is unsettling. What might these clocks symbolize? Chaos? The end of time? The trappings of our own discontent? Maybe they symbolize the unnecessary constraints we place on ourselves by arranging our lives in order of time.

If you want your living room to be the talk of the town, accessorize it with a real-life Surrealist clock. The Surrealist clock can hang on a shelf, desk or coffee table. Balanced precariously, it demonstrates to your guests that time to you cannot be measured by the hands of a ticking clock.

The Ceiling Fan
As shown above, one of the major components of Surrealism is its experiments with shape. Things are never what they seem in a Surrealist work, nor does it have to be that way in your home.

Though they serve a functional purpose, ceiling fans are often seen as nothing more than an eyesore hanging from the ceiling. This isn’t true of ceiling fans designed by Fanimation Fans. The Torto ceiling fan is a sculptural, hanging masterpiece. The fan’s curvilinear blades reference the circularity we see in our dream and waking worlds. The Torto ceiling fan is not your grandmother’s fan.

The Sofa
As we have learned, color and shape play significant roles in the Surrealist aesthetic. Lucky for us, we can build up our interiors to have the same focus.

Every living room needs a comfortable place to sit a while. The Mono Seating Collection by Blu Dot captures the linearity of the Mid-Century Modern look while also mimicking planar landscapes. The sofa’s packwood orange color is reminiscent of a poppy flower and the setting sun.

My last piece of advice? Dare to dream in your home, you won’t regret.