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Is This The Surreal Life? Is This Just Fantasy?

In the aftermath of World War 1, the unbearable reality and carnage of trench warfare led to unprecedented social behaviours. The “Roaring Twenties” smacked of luxury and anarchy, survivors throwing themselves into having a good time to blot out the memory of what they had lived through. People rebelled against the Prohibition of alcohol – and defied convention by wearing outrageous clothes, driving fast cars, smoking and enjoying jazz music.

In art, pre-war Dadaism protested against growing militant nationalism by expressing themselves through absurdity and non-sense. This grew into the Surrealist cultural movement after the war. Artists relied on positioning the unexpected images of dreams into a landscape of reality to create a super-reality or surreality, which would challenge, shock and disturb the onlooker. Juxtaposing the ridiculous alongside the ordinary – whether a lobster telephone handset or the melting clock by the artist Salvador Dali – created a sensation. Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Rene Magritte and Marc Chagall all passed their artistic work through the filter of Surrealism.

Following the Second World War, supporters of Surrealism led revolutionary movements, radical political groups who rebelled against the old regimes which had brought about such tragedy. Wanting to free the imagination and introduce dreams into reality is a vision that continues into today’s event planning and development.

Here at Kit & Caboodle we like to call our team the “#purveyors of WoW!” and we like nothing better than to take a client’s dream and help bring it into reality. Sometimes the dreamlike feel of an event experience is critical to its ultimate success. Other times, corporate clients want to emphasise their brand or new product in a more conventional way. We work with them to free up their imagination so that together we can explore the Art of the Possible, allowing for budgets, environmental and planning concerns, and venue limitations.

We enjoy presenting unusual, novel ways of creating memorable moments that will have guests talking for days, months and even years after an event has been and gone. That’s the magic that emerges from our expertise and creativity.

Occasionally, we are asked to use the theme of “Surrealism” for a dinner party. That’s when we can really go to town in artistic terms. It’s a fine line between taking someone’s breath away, or actually putting them off their first course! We like to think we get it right. Gruesome juxtaposition of headless dolls pierced by skewers might be acceptable for a Halloween Night experience for adults, but it’s not necessarily right for High-End Surreal, where we combine conventional beauty and class with humorous ridicule. From the Bubblegum Clouds at a party for #Snapdragon to the dancing #humanimals in the Bavarian forest we created at a top hotel for the #RuntoMonaco – expect the unexpected or what we, in the events sector, call “the reveal.”

We draw on a palette employing bizarre props, strange furnishings, atmospheric lighting and attention-grabbing entertainment acts where strange hybrid creatures emerge from the shadows to howl at the moon –  to create a work of art that is unique to each and every client, engineering events from 20 people to 2,000 in order to create a novel, unusual but enjoyable experience. Sometimes it takes just a small shift from the familiar to slightly-off centre, to catch the imagination.

In the words of #René Magritte, the Belgian adman-cum-forger-cum-artist popularly applauded as one of the founding fathers of the Surrealist movement “ … always be on the look-out for what has never been.”

In these days of lockdown, our creativity is running riot. Like Magritte, who lived in the same apartment for 24 years and allowed his imagination to travel instead – we are holding our breath and waiting for the first commissions of “the new norm” and may they be as unexpected  as the current crisis – but in a good way.


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