Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (outside of Copenhagen) is currently running an exhibition on Max Ernst - Dream and Revolution. A large selection of works is presented, from Ernst's dadaistic and surrealistic periods and further on to the playful techinques that he adopted to his art.
What strikes me when I see an exhibition like this is how strong the influence of surrealism have been, and still is, on the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Sofu Teshigahara picked up a lot from the modern European art, not so much the philosophy but the styles and techniques. Surrealism was used to get a direct approach to creativity, and to grasp the unexpected and random in the process of making a free style ikebana arrangement. Sofu often used untraditional matherials in his surrealsitic arrangements. I will try and post a few pictures when i get my scanner to work.
One of the techiques favored by the surrealists is decalcomania. Paint is applied somewhat randomly on a sheat of paper. Then another sheat of paper is pressed towards it, creating an interesting pattern. Ernst used this technique as a starting point for his faboulus fantacy landscape paintings. In the Sogetsu school decalcomania is used to create an unexpected pattern that serves as inspiration for an ikebana arrangement. I'm posting two examples so you get a feeling of it.
Decalcomania and ikebana, mass of Ranunculus.
Detail of decalcomania and Ikebana arrangement: "When spring is here she wears her yellow kimono", Tulips, Ephedra and Ranunculus.
Max Ernst - Dream and Revolution is running until June 1, 2009.
From the presentation text: "Max Ernst was a hypermodern, adaptable artist. Like a vagabond he turned his life into one long journey – constantly renewing his artistic activity and himself. He was always on his way in and out of new modes of exspression, in search of development and change. He never came to a halt with any single style but continued to explore and experiment with art".