• Ar. Stephanie L.P. Chan

Surrealism and an interpretation in the current age

Updated: Oct 10, 2018

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.”


Surrealism was known to be determined not by logical but physiological and during

the month of my internship with Arch Labs; I’ve gain understanding of the term ‘Surrealism’ and the world famous versatile and prolific artist – Salvador Dali’.

Arch Labs has assigned me a difficult task to understand the mind of Salvador Dali and his artwork. We are to research, understood and interpret his work of Surrealism, or should I say his - Dreams and Hallucination.

Salvador Dali was a known purveyor of the Surrealist movement. The movement itself was a reaction towards the Enlightenment period of the 17th- and 18th-century. During that time, the Rationalism movement championed reason and individualism. Surrealists opposed the movement claiming it had suppressed the important qualities of the irrational and unconscious mind.

Dali’s surrealist paintings often challenged the viewer, making them question the relationship of what they viewed in the painting to rational thought. In order to do this within the medium of his paintings he used literal distortions such as the melted clocks in The Persistence of Memory. These distortions would cause to viewer to question the concept of solidity versus fluidity.

Surrealism building by Joyann

I have incorporated Dali’s surrealism into my work. I similarly used distortions except with reference to architectural elements. The building works to distort the viewer’s sense of orientation through the placement of furniture and the warped building.

However by still using the elements of a building, walls, windows, furniture, etc. the viewer still recognizes it as a building despite it being illogical. Thus it fulfills the Surrealist nature as a means of reuniting conscious and unconscious realms of experience.

"Temptation of St Anthony" by Salvador Dali

I was held back by my lack of skill in Photoshop but luckily Dali tends to use scarce backgrounds. Therefore I incorporated his tendency to use saturated colours. Inspired by the skies in “Temptation of St Anthony”.

I’ve used a colour palette of green, blue, browns and yellows. The brown coloured center will bring the viewer’s attention to the building as the main subject;

Surrealism Building by Joyann

To increase the feeling of disorientation, I have avoided using typical landscapes and with the lack of background as reference, all orientations are possible anywhere whether it’s up or down of left or right.


I was very satisfied with the outcome of my building and despise my lack of experiences I manage to (un)logically and well-defined my interpretation of the artist; and during my progress of interpreting, I have one goal and one goal only in mind, to make my building scream:


And upon receiving feedback during my presentation, you could say I am qualified to be the second Dali.

Thank you for reading!

Post first appeared on Ask An Architect

By Sharifah Nur'nisa | Story of Joyann Lim

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