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Saturday, 26 February 2011
Comrades! Modernism died in the trenches of The Western Front – from the chaos of the First World War the first ‘Post-Modern’ movement, Surrealism – and its forerunner, Dada – emerged. What is the legacy of Surrealism? Openness to automatism, the irrational, chance, coincidence, indeterminacy and relativity; cultivation of black humour, the absurd and the transformations of the Pleasure Principle; a recognition that Modernism is now a spurious category signifying the reverse of contemporary. With the final realisation that avant-garde formalism has reached the end of its development and is now a failed, or a dying, movement, ‘Postsurrealism’ or Open Realism (realisme ouvert - Andre Breton) draws a line in the sand and, as they say these days, it ‘moves on’. Postsurrealists will side-step the political naiveté and heady idealism of the ‘heroic’ period of the last century. But they will retain the ‘nihilism’ of Dada (including the ‘requisition of churches for the performance of bruitism, simultaneist and Dadaist poems’) and expunge the final traces of mysticism from the dogmas of Surrealist orthodoxy, replacing it with mad love and a radical anti-teleology. They will re-affirm the Freudian perspective on the primal processes of creativity and the nature of the Weltanschauung. In the twenty-first century Post-Surrealists will proclaim the end of ‘Modern Art’, ‘Language Poetry’, ‘Fly-in-the-Bottle Philosophy’, ‘Social Constructionist Epistemology’, and any other high-falutin’ claptrap.
For A C Evans art is a way of exploring the subversive potential of the bizarre and the grotesque – yet he describes his work as essentially realistic. ‘Poetry’, he says ‘is Radar’. AC relishes the iconoclasm of Dada, the 'absolute non-conformism' of Surrealism, the insights of Existentialism, and the immediacy of Pop. He sees all these as points of departure none as a destination – we live in a post-avant-garde world of tabloid impressionism, open realism and amplified hyper-culture; the heroism of our modern life, our subtopian materialism. Born near Hampton Court in 1949, AC lived in South London until 1963 when he moved to Essex and co-founded the Neo-Surrealist Convulsionist Group in 1966. He moved back to London in 1973. His work has appeared in numerous small press magazines in the UK and abroad and his poem sequence Space Opera was made into a digital video and shown at the onedotzero3 Festival, at the ICA, London, in May 1999. The film of Space Opera has been used for the last 5 years as part of the lecture/seminar on fragmentation as part of the Craft of Writing module, a first year core unit at Falmouth University.