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History and Active Thought: The Belgrade Surrealist Circle’s Transforming Praxis

Bahun, Sanja (2021) 'History and Active Thought: The Belgrade Surrealist Circle’s Transforming Praxis.' In: Spiropoulou, Angeliki and Rabate, Jean-Michel, (eds.) Historical Modernisms: Time, History and Modernist Aesthetics. Historicizing Modernism . Bloomsbury, 215 - 233. ISBN 9781350202962

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This essay examines the “transforming praxis” of the Belgrade Surrealist Circle and their belief in “activating history” through a mutually corrective interaction of thought and matter. This aesthetic-political practice, the essay argues, gets articulated as a historical mandate, and it does so in two ways: as a performative address to the site-moment-specific historical conditions in the early and mid-twentieth century and as a way to conceptualize and respond to the problem of active thinking and acting in history more generally. Drawing on Koča Popović and Marko Ristić’s surrealist philosophical treatise Outline for a Phenomenology of the Irrational (1931), the essay places the Circle’s negotiation of the legacy of Hegel’s thought on history in their various artworks, poems, novels, photographs and essayistic prose in the context of political past, present, and the future of their practice. Discussing the circumstances and effects of one of the most influential art-practices in the region of Yugoslavia enables the author to pose more capacious questions about the operation of art and history: How does material history turn itself into continuously active forms/represented objects? What implications may the Belgrade surrealists’ mandate for active thought have for our understanding of modernism and history? And what mode of interpretation may fit such visions of historically-politically engaged art?

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: surrealism, avant-garde, modernism, Yugoslavia
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2021 12:47
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2021 12:47

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