Main Article Content

Giorgi Razmadze


In Marxist literature and film theory, one can often find critical discussions about capitalist production and the struggle of critical theorists, such as Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer from the Frankfurt School, who attempt to uncover the purpose of industrial cinema, particularly Hollywood, which experienced significant growth in the 1930s. After the emergence of American film companies, Hollywood's influence in cinema has continued to rise.

The semantics and structure of cinema have changed significantly. Cinema has separated itself further from the language and culture of the dominant literary works and even from the cultural norms that had been shaping codes and content for centuries, essentially reformatting and legitimizing political and economic forms.

Modernist cinema may be seen as the result of a struggle, not only against parliament but against ideology itself, in the most significant cultural field. Avant-garde movements were involved in political activities, and their escapism found a parallel in the form of dominant social norms. Political participation, however, was not exclusive to the avant- garde; for instance, Filippo Marinetti, the leader of the Futurists, founded a political party. Yet, he, along with André Breton, the leader of the Surrealists, eventually drifted apart from their respective political ventures.

Capitalism dominated the 20th century's ideology, even though it continued to be a vague presence in the early days, striving to establish the first forms of capital accumulation in the realms that are now rapidly growing. This kind of struggle is exactly what was witnessed in cinema when sound emerged—the system that conveyed the logic of commercial production. The recognition of capitalistic systems in cinema continued in the 1930s, particularly during the emergence of sound and its important influence on content and narrative.

Georg Lukács' concept of the reification of Marxism is not a mere reiteration of Marxist economic principles but rather encompasses social and cultural aspects. According to Marx, when we enter into relations with commodities, we enter into social and cultural relationships. "Marxism and Class Consciousness" by Lukács argues that social relationships embody the same logic in the realms of economic and cultural relationships, forming a unified structure. Therefore, every created object and commodity represents this unity.

According to Roland Barthes, "A press photograph is a message." He insists that beyond the act of taking a photograph, the selection, the organization, the text, the retouching, and various human activities must be performed to deliver it. Each creation is engaged in multiple people and contexts. The message of press photography is not reality but the dominant discourses of ideologies and concepts. By recognizing this relationship between creation and cultural context, we can avoid focusing on reality but rather on the dominant discourse of realism with respect to its reiteration.

Joseph Cornell, an early proponent of reification, understood André Breton's manifesto and reification theory very well. He was among the first to translate the concept of "found footage" into the more academically distributed term "collage film" technique, thus establishing the practice. Cornell also marketed films in second-hand shops, a practice that was distributed at the time.

Joseph Cornell's college film marketing practices played a crucial role in establishing the first cinema collections in Paris. This is how the initial cinema collection was distributed, which was widespread practice at the time. This method allowed the first cinema collection in Paris to be distributed and practised widely.

Cornell's most famous work is the film "Rose Hobart" (1936), which falls into the category of avant-garde films. In this film, Cornell took inspiration from Rose Hobart, an actress, to create a film that can be seen as a landmark in American avant-garde cinema. This film presents a unique combination of elements that could be considered a part of the Neo- avant-garde and is seen as a significant contribution to American avant-garde cinema. It even has parallels with European avant-garde films and elements found in the collaborative works of artists like Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray. The surrealist and abstract technique of re-editing, which was prominent in the work of Cornell, involved creating new objects from found materials.

"Rose Hobart" is a film that doesn't rely on a traditional plot. Instead, it offers a surrealist representation of objects, associations, and the desires of the actress Rose Hobart. It's a film where the emphasis is on the expression of these elements, rather than a concrete storyline.

In "Rose Hobart," Cornell recontextualizes found footage to create a new narrative. It's a unique and influential film that showcases Cornell's ability to transform existing materials into a completely distinctive surrealist object.

In "Rose Hobart," Cornell recontextualizes found footage to create a new narrative. It's a unique and influential film that showcases Cornell's ability to transform existing materials into a completely distinctive surrealist object. His focus on meaning, depth, and suggestion, rather than form or content, is what makes Cornell's work so significant. This film, in particular, marks the point where Cornell departs from Marcel Duchamp and charts his own creative path.

Cornell's work is essential in the avant-garde movement, and his ability to blend different elements from various cinematic traditions is noteworthy. His work is timeless and continues to inspire admiration and retrospection for both past and future generations.

Published: May 20, 2024

Article Details

How to Cite
Giorgi Razmadze. (2024). SURREALISM AND REIFICATION IN AMERICAN EXPERIMENTAL FILM. Art Researches, 5. Retrieved from