Incongruity

DEFINITION

A state of two or more things lacking harmony, being incompatible, inconsistent, absurdly combined. Such things would be described as incongruous. This sometimes results in irony. What makes something humorous or tragic is essentially an instance of incongruity. Incongruity is an idea explored often by artists influenced by Dada and Surrealism.(pr. IN-kahn-GROO-ə-tee)Examples: Ren? Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967), The Treachery [or Treason] of Images, 1928-9, oil on canvas, 23 1/4 x 31 1/2 inches, private collection, NY. "Ceci n'est pas une pipe," means "This is not a pipe." See Surrealism. Ren? Magritte, The Rape, 1934, oil on canvas. Salvador Dal? (Spanish, 1904-1989), Lobster Telephone, 1936, plastic, painted plaster and mixed media, 17.8 x 33.0 x 17.8 cm, Tate Gallery, London. This sculpture is a classic example of the Surrealist practice of juxtaposing otherwise unrelated everyday items. The Surrealists valued the mysterious and provocative effect of such incongruities. Dal? believed that his objects expressed the secret desires of the unconscious, and that lobsters and telephones reveal the prominence of the sexuality.Scott Mutter (American, 1944-), Untitled (Forest), 1975, gelatine-silver print photomontage, 11 x 14 inches, American Museum of Photography. This forest has a parquet floor. "While others use the techniques of photomontage for shock effect, Mutter creates worlds that can best be described as 'hyper-realistic.' "Also see absurd, advertising, amphibolous, angst, anomaly, compare, consistency, counterpoint, cryptic, detournement, emphasis, exquisite corpse, Fluxus, focal point, frisson, grotesque, interesting, juxtaposition, pain, reversible, Rube Goldberg, and Surrealism.

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