Camille de la Rosa Invites Viewers to Find the Chalice of Knowledge

Enchanted with the surreal, Camille de la Rosa now prepares to introduce the philosophy of the surreal movement in the Philippines through her new work. And she is hoping that everyone will welcome this development.


“The way the surreal enchants the author is just like the earlier works of gardens, landscapes, anything that is considered the beautiful. Although one will see the works as eerie, morbid or horrible, the chance to explore the unknown, the depths of the human mind, soul and spirit, can be more beautiful than the flowers in the garden or the skies crawling on the mountaintops,” the 26-year old artist Camille Jean Verdelaire de la Rosa told this reporter during a visit to her home in Mandaluyong City.

She was then busy finishing her latest work, Resurrecti Scientia or the Rise of Wisdom, a complex combination of human, skeletal, animal and bird figures.

The author observed that the young artist is painting in complete ecstasy. The way that she paints the skulls, the wings of the crane, the work on its beak, while the bird is trying to feed the skull-faced child, riding with the “freak” woman on a cow — it is enchanting. The author has to admit that he has never before seen an artist so absorbed in her work; it’s as if De la Rosa is in union with her work.

You can see the determination to finish the works despite a busy schedule and a sick pet dog, which she treats as her best friend.

See the real to understand the surreal

Although new in the craft, young De la Rosa shares her thoughts about the surreal.

“I think, to be able to appreciate the surreal, we must see the ultimate real: the interweaving of societal and personal events, the conflicting philosophies, and the universalities and particularities of some ideas or theories,” says De la Rosa.

Surrealist arts and literature were born during a time of chaos: the interval between the two world wars. It mainly grew out of the pre-World War I Dadaist Movement, which produced works of “anti-art” that deliberately defied reason. However, Surrealism’s emphasis was not on negation but on positive expression.

The movement represented a reaction against what its members saw as the destruction wrought by the “rationalism” that had guided European culture and politics in the past and had culminated in the horrors of World War I.

“Surrealism was a means of reuniting conscious and unconscious realms of experience so completely, that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world in “an absolute reality,” says poet and critic André Breton, considered as the major spokesperson of the movement. It was he, who published “The Surrealist Manifesto” in 1924, or 10 years after World War I had broken out.

Surrealism draws heavily on theories adapted from Sigmund Freud. As Breton sees it, the unconscious serves as the wellspring of the imagination.

Breton defined genius in terms of accessibility to this normally untapped realm, which, he believed, could be attained by poets and painters alike.

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