Opposite of Upcycle Project: Surrealism, Idealism and Abstraction

Through my research I found three different Aesthetics that would qualify as the opposite of realism; Idealism, Surrealism and Abstraction.

Idealism is where everything looks perfect and beautiful, almost like a dream world. Instead of showing the nitty-gritty details of real life, idealist art gives us a picture of how things could be in a perfect world. An example can be shown below.

Then there’s surrealism, which is all about showing us things that are strange and dreamlike. Artists paint weird scenes that mess with our minds, like melting clocks or flying fish. It’s like they’re taking us on a trip into their imagination. An example can be shown below.

Lastly, there’s abstraction, where artists don’t even try to show real things. They use shapes, colors, and lines to express feelings or ideas without worrying about making things look real. It’s like they’re painting the feelings inside their heads instead of the things they see around them. An example can be shown below.

So, when we talk about the opposite of realism in art, we’re talking about these different ways artists create things that are anything but ordinary or realistic.

For my project, If I were to do an opposite aesthetic, I would choose surrealism. To do this I would need things that would be strange and dreamlike to make it look unrealistic. A big part of my project was focusing on the scale to try and make things look real so one way to change this to surrealism would be changing the scale of things. I could have included other models in the diorama that would take away the scale such as a figure that would be larger than the chosen car in the diorama. Another way could be including something unrealistic such as some crazy plant life that was glowing or something similar. An example I could’ve adopted to achieve this would be including cotton balls with LEDs behind them. This creates a glow like effect that can be shown below.

I’d like to think this takes inspiration from the plant life seen in the movie Avatar, where all of the plant life glows at night. Although this can be found in the real world in some areas, for my purposes and in my diorama I think this would achieve the surrealist aesthetic. I think a limitation of my design is the fact that my diorama is so small. To really increase both the realism aesthetic or the surrealism aesthetic, increasing my diorama size would allow me to add more features to the design. To meet an idealistic aesthetic, I could easily try to add a more clean finish to my original design. I tried to make the backdrop of my diorama a little grungy so I think including a polished floor and removing the graffiti for something else would meet this aesthetic. 



Photo 1 Idealism: Utopian Metropolis, Sep 12, 2015, Francois Coutu

Photo 2 Realism: Surreal Portrait, Oct 2, 2020, Aykut Aydogdu

Photo 3 Abstraction: Pass the ball, 2022, Frank Bowling

Photo 3 Cotton Balls: Inspiration, November 22, 2023, Gabriella Sagnes

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Matthew Osborn
    May 8, 2024 5:04 am

    I think you have a great approach to creating a surrealistic atmosphere. The use of cotton balls with LEDs to create a glowing effect, adds a really cool and otherworldly aspect to your design. I think will look great!


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