Tiny Surrealism

Professor Roger Rothman (currently of Bucknell University, formerly of Agnes Scott College) praises the department’s “encouragement and friendship” in the forward to his latest publication Tiny Surrealism: Salvador Dali and the Aesthetics of the Small.





About Tiny Surrealism:

Although one of the most popular artists of the twentieth century, Salvador Dalí has typically been considered no more than peripheral to the dominant practices of modernism. Roger Rothman’s Tiny Surrealism argues that this marginal position itself should be examined as a coherent response to modernism. It demonstrates how Dalí’s practice was in fact organized around the logic of the small and the inconsequential and considers in this context Dalí’s identification not only with the literally small (ants, sewing needles, breadcrumbs, blackheads, etc.) but also with the metaphorically small (the trivial, the weak, the superficial, and the anachronistic). In addition to addressing Dalí’s imagery, Tiny Surrealism demonstrates that the logic of the minor and the marginal was a fundamental factor in Dalí’s adherence to the techniques of miniaturist illusionism; long derided as antimodernist and kitsch, Dalí’s style was itself a strategy of the small aimed at subverting the dominant values of modern painting. Dalí constructed his practice as a parasite on the body of modernism: a small but potentially virulent intruder.

Because Dalí was a prolific and complex writer, Rothman makes extensive use of Dalí’s writings, both his public pronouncements and private correspondence. By attending to the peculiarities of Dalí’s technique and examining overlooked aspects of his writings, Tiny Surrealism is the first study to detail his deliberate subversion of modernist orthodoxies.