Surrealism in the Modern World: How We Use its Inspiration in our Homes
The commonly-accepted dictionary definition of surrealism is art that aims to ‘resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality’. Since our dreams are unique and dazzling, and draw upon the strange and the seemingly impossible that we see every day, then why should this not manifest itself in how we live our lives, in architecture, art and ornament?
Even the shape of the house itself can contradict the world, and turn common convention on its head; literally, in some cases. Structures that appear to be flipped upside-down, or with edges that jut out to artistic effect only, can fetch big prices. This list of 31 unique designs shows angles and fractals that are as far away from the average terraced house as possible. Of interest is the restrictive nature of some, caused by lack of space – or perhaps a need to use space wisely – and the wide expansion of others boasting just 2-3 rooms.
Once inside the homes are fairly ‘normal’, at least in comparison to the unique nature of the buildings themselves. They’re fairly parallel and perpendicular, with few curves and slants to be seen (look at these works from Korean artist Jeeyoung Lee for how bizarre a room could potentially be, a crazy world) but for rooms that really stand out as surreal we need more. The colours are vital; sometimes they simply reflect the environment and act as its extension, other times they define it as its own space.
For inspiration consider another block of 31 photographs, this time on Viralnova. Many could only exist in that space; overlooking mountains or gorges. Some block out the external world completely, such as a room with barrel wood walls or encircled in green velvet. They redefine the word room – a confined space in a bookcase, a shower adjacent to a divan, or a floating bed on a swimming pool, for example. Some will find them weird and irrational, others will desire them and try to recreate. This isn’t so much thinking outside the box as throwing away the box and starting from a completely different shape.
Once the room is constructed, the decoration can add different influences to a room, to complement themes or deliberately contrast them. For example, a room of straight lines and alcoves of pastels, greys, whites and beiges can be made more human by the addition of curved mirrors or swirling ornaments, vases in twisting formations and tables and chairs that deceive the eye. The legs might be as curvy as a winding country lane, or shaped like a human or car and the surface itself might not even remain straight (we’ve seen a table where one leg is cocked, as if the table is relieving itself), but this will only add to the intrigue. Vibrant colours and patterns finish the ensemble.
And, of course, surreal art lifts any room to a point. From the bizarre impossible worlds of Dali to fantasy horror to graphical designs to artwork from another part of the globe, tasteful arts are in the eye of the beholder. This art may express itself in picture or clothing, upholstery or carpet, or perhaps ornament. Even a small print in the corner of a room adding the ‘signature’ of the owners can be a perfect expression to take a room from the real to the surreal.
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