Creative Avantgarde: the power of Pygmalion
Kassák and the Surrealism
Peter Suhajda (Karoli University of the Reformed Church, Budapest)
A great artist of Hungarian literature and painting, Lajos Kassák, was one of the most important organizers of the European avantgarde movement. He had a very fruitful relationship with the most famous creators and periodicals of futurism, expressionism, dadaism and surrealism. But, as he always claimed, he had never been a dadaist or a surrealist. Perhaps he used their special methods (like the typical avantgarde technique of montage), but he could not accept their conceptions completely. He was neither a dadaist nor a surrealist, but was said to be a constructivist builder who constructed an archetypical new world by triangles, squares, circles and different colours. This new dimension was so far from the madness of dada and the dreamland of surrealism alike. But differences and special techniques and methods make only the surface of the avantgarde phenomenon. And beneath the surface, there is a basic principle, which is the same for all the different tendencies of European avantgarde. This principle is the magical way of creative avantgarde forces, power of Pygmalion. The act of „desemiotisation”, which means the elimination of signification, whereby the artistic product becomes an „existing” being instead of a simple copy, which is just a sign of reality.