The Ontographic Turn: From Cubism to the Surrealist Object

Simon Weir 2  and Jason Anthony Dibbs 1
  • 1 The University of Sydney, , Sydney, Australia
  • 2 The University of Sydney, , Sydney, Australia

Abstract

The practice of Ontography deployed by OOO, clarified and expanded in this essay, produces a highly productive framework for analyzing Salvador Dalí’s ontological project between 1928 and 1935. Through the careful analysis of paintings and original texts from this period, we establish the antecedents for Dalí’s theorization of Surrealist objects in Cubism and Italian Metaphysical art, which we collectively refer to as ‘Ontographic art,’ drawing parallels with the tenets of Graham Harman’s and Ian Bogost’s object-oriented philosophical programmes. We respond to the question raised by Roger Rothman concerning Object-Oriented Idealism in Dalí’s work by showing pivotal changes to Dalí’s ontological outlook, from Idealism to Realism, across the aforementioned period, positing the Ontographic intentionality of Dalí’s ontological project in Surrealist art.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Abler, Ronald. “Book Review of The Origins of Academic Geography in the United States.” In Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 73:2, 1983.

  • Aragon, Louis. Le Paysan de Paris. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1926.

  • Baldacci, Paolo. De Chirico: The Metaphysical Period, 1888–1919. Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown and Company, 1997.

  • Bergson, Henri. Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic. Trans. by Cloudesley Brereton and Fred Rothwell. Copenhagen: Green Integer Books, 1999.

  • Blanciak, François. Siteless: 1001 building forms. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2008.

  • Bogost, Ian. Alien Phenomenology: or what it’s like to be a thing. Minneapolis, USA and London, UK: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

  • Breton, Andre. Manifestoes of Surrealism. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1972.

  • Carra, Carlo. “Irony and Mysticism in Contemporary Painting.” In Valori Plastici (Rome), VII-VIII, 1920.

  • Dalí, Salvador. Conquest of the Irrational. New York: Julien Levy, 1935.

  • Dalí, Salvador. La Femme Visible. Paris: Éditions surrealists, 1930.

  • Dalí, Salvador. “New Limits of Painting - Part 2”, L’Amic de les Arts (Stiges) 3, 24, April 1928. In Dalí, Salvador. The Collected Writings of Salvador Dalí. Ed. And Trans. By Haim Finkelstein. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

  • Dalí, Salvador. “New General Considerations Regarding the Mechanism of the Paranoiac Phenomenon from the Surrealist Point of View.” In Minotaure, 1, June 1933.

  • Dalí, Salvador. “Non-Euclidean psychology of a photograph.” In Minotaure, 7, June 1935.

  • Dalí, Salvador. Notes pour l’interprétation du tableau / “La Persistance de la mémoire.” Unpublished manuscript, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation collection. Centre for Dalinian Studies, 1931.

  • Dalí, Salvador. Dalí on Modern Art: the cuckolds of antiquated modern art. New York: Dial Press, 1957.

  • Dalí, Salvador. “Reality and Surreality.” In La Gaceta Literaria (Madrid) 44, 15 October 1928.

  • Dalí, Salvador. “Sant Sebastian.” In L’Amic de les Arts (Stiges) 16, 2, July 1927. In Dalí, Salvador. The Collected Writings of Salvador Dalí. Ed. And Trans. By Haim Finkelstein. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

  • Dalí, Salvador. “The Object as Revealed in Surrealist Experiment.” In This Quarter (Paris) 5,1, September 1932. Reprinted in Dalí, Salvador. The Collected Writings of Salvador Dalí. Ed. And Trans. By Haim Finkelstein. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

  • Dalí, Salvador. “The Moral Position of Surrealism.” In Helix (Vilafranca del Penedcs, Barcelona), 10, 22 March 1930. In Dalí, Salvador. The Collected Writings of Salvador Dalí. Ed. And Trans. By Haim Finkelstein. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

  • Dalí, Salvador. “The Philosophical Importance of Soft Watches,” 1935. In Fanés, Felix. Salvador Dalí: The Construction of the Image 1925–1930. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.

  • Dalí, Salvador. “The Rotting Donkey.” In Dalí, Salvador. The Collected Writings of Salvador Dalí. Ed. And Trans. By Haim Finkelstein. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

  • Dalí, Salvador. The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí. New York: Dial Press, 1942.

  • Dalí, Salvador. “The Surrealist and Phenomenal Mystery of the Bedside Table.” In Fanés, Felix. Salvador Dalí: The Construction of the Image 1925–1930. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.

  • Dalí, Salvador. The Tragic Myth of Millet’s Angelus: ‘Paranoiac-Critical Interpretation.’ Paris: Jean-Jacques Pauvert, 1963.

  • Davis, W. M. “Systematic Geography.” In Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 41, No. 170, April 1902.

  • DeLanda, Manuel; Harman, Graham. The Rise of Realism. Cambridge, UK and Malden, USA: Polity, 2017.

  • Eburne, Jonathan P. “That Obscure Object of Revolt: Heraclitus, Surrealism’s Lightning-Conductor.” In Symplokē, 8:1/2, 2000.

  • Fanés, Felix. Salvador Dalí: The Construction of the Image 1925–1930. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.

  • Finkelstein, Haim. “Duchamp and Dalí: Photography of the Naked Object,” Avant-Garde Studies, 3, Spring/Summer, 2018.

  • Finkelstein, Haim. “The Incarnation of Desire: Dalí and the Surrealist Object.” In Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics. Vol. 23, No. 1, 1993.

  • Finkelstein, Haim. Salvador Dalí’s Art and Writing, 1927-1942 : the Metamorphoses of Narcissus. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

  • Finkelstein, Haim. Surrealism and the Crisis of the Object. UMI Research Press, 1979.

  • Foucault, Michel. This is not a pipe. Berkeley: University of California Press, Berkeley, 1983.

  • Harman, Graham. “Greenberg, Duchamp, and the Next Avant-Garde.” In Speculations, 5, 2014.

  • Harman, Graham. Immaterialism: Objects and Social Theory. Cambridge: Polity, 2016.

  • Harman, Graham. Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything. London: Pelican Books, 2018.

  • Harman, Graham. The Quadruple Object. Winchester, UK; Washington, USA: Zero Books, 2011.

  • Harms, Ernst. “Prolegomena of Monistic Aesthetics.” In The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 1 No. 2/3 Autumn, 1941.

  • James, M. R. “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to you, My Lad.” In Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1969.

  • Jenny, Laurent, and Trezise, Thomas. “From Breton to Dali: The Adventures of Automatism.” October, vol. 51, Dec. 1989.

  • Kahnweiler, Daniel-Henry. The Rise of Cubism. New York: Wittenborn, Schultz, Inc., 1949.

  • Leiris, Michel. “Les Simulacres.” In L’Amic de les Arts, 2, 20, 30 November 1927.

  • Lovecraft, H. P. Supernatural Horror in Literature, New York: Ben Abramson, 1945.

  • Malt, Johanna. Obscure Objects of Desire Surrealism, Fetishism, and Politics. Oxford University Press, 2004.

  • Mayne, Robert Gray. An expository lexicon of the terms, ancient and modern, in medical and general science, London: J. Churchill, 1860.

  • Meillassoux, Quentin. After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency. New York: Continuum, 2010.

  • Mileaf, Janine A. Please Touch : Dada and Surrealist Objects after the Readymade, Hanover, N.H: Dartmouth College Press, 2010.

  • Morton, Timothy. “Here Comes Everything: The Promise of Object-Oriented Ontology.” In Qui Parle, Vol. 19, No. 2, Spring/Summer, 2011.

  • Morton, Timothy. Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People. (First published 2017) London, New York: Verso, 2019.

  • Ortega y Gasset, Josè. “An Essay in Esthetics by Way Of A Preface.” In Phenomenology and Art, trans. by Philip W. Silver. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1975.

  • Rothman, Roger. “Dalí’s inauthenticity.” In Modernism/Modernity, Vol 14 Number 3, 2007.

  • Rothman, Roger. “Object-Oriented Surrealism: Salvador Dalí and the Poetic Autonomy of Things.” In Culture, Theory and Critique, 57:2, 2016.

  • Rothman, Roger. Tiny Surrealism: Salvador Dalí and the aesthetics of the small. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2012.

  • Savinio, Alberto. “Anadymenon: Principles in the Evaluation of Contemporary Art.” In Valori Plastici (Rome), IV-V, 1919. Reprinted in, Carrá, Massimo. Metaphysical Art. London: Thames & Hudson, 1971.

  • Torczyner, Harry. Magritte: Ideas and Images. Trans. by Richard Millen. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1977.

  • Weir, Simon. “Salvador Dalí’s Interiors with Heraclitus’s Concealment.” In The Interior Architecture Theory Reader. Oxon: Routledge, 2018.

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Open Philosophy is an international Open Access, peer-reviewed academic journal covering all areas of philosophy. The objective of Open Philosophy is to foster free exchange of ideas and provide an appropriate platform for presenting, discussing and disseminating new concepts, current trends, theoretical developments and research findings related to the broadest philosophical spectrum.

Search