Surrealism is an avant-garde movement, which began around 1924, and grewfrom the previous Dada Movement. The movement was thought to be most popular inFrance at the time but later spread to other countries including England(around the 1930’s and 1940’s). Itfocuses on art and literature which looked to release creative potential fromthe unconscious mind.
Some of the most important artists and literary creatorswithin this movement are Salvador Dali, Andre Breton and Sigmund Freud. Themovement was also influenced by Karl Marx, they hoped that revolution could becaused by this unlocking of the mind and contradictions within the world couldbe revealed.Tate. (2018) Art Term: SurrealismOnline. Available at: http://www.
tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/s/surrealism (Accessed 16 Jan 2018) The definition of surreal tells us that it mainlyincludes elements such as bizarre landscapes and distorted objects and isusually more of a dreamlike idea. The term surreal came from the early 20thcentury from the French word “surréalisme” which literally means “beyondrealism.” In the Surrealism art movement, rationalism was disregarded within themovement along with literary realism and the power of the imagination washighly regarded as the basis of the movement and what had to be channelled. Surrealistmovement contributors believed that the rational mind was able to repress thepower of the imagination and that this could be unlocked. The influence put onthe idea of the power of the personal imagination was important to thesurrealist movement and the impulse to unlock the unconscious mind, along withan interest in myth and primitivism, made Surrealism able to shape many laterart movements. The style of surrealism still is influential today and a lot ofinspiration can be found in it.
The Art Story. (Compiled and Editedby The Art Story Contributors, 2018) Surrealism Movement Overview and AnalysisOnline. Available at: http://www.theartstory.
org/movement-surrealism.htm (Accessed 16 Jan 2018).English Oxford Dictionary (2018)Definiton of surreal in English Online. Available at https://en.oxforddictionaries.
com/definition/surreal (Accessed 16 Jan 2018) Surrealism started around the 20th century, specifically1924, and ended around 1939. The movement became most highly associated withthe paintings created at the time. Surrealism was influenced heavily fromDadaism. Dada was a movement which came out of World War 1 as a revolutionagainst the brutal effects and psychological trauma of the passing war. Dada’saim was to shock the world and allow a cultural reawakening to ensue, whilstattempting to unlock their subconscious minds and benefit from the unparalleledart process. Surrealism took this last idea of unlocking the mind to access newfound art processes and ideas and created new and unique art pieces with it.Surrealists also began to dive into the idea of recreating dreams within theirartwork. Around the time of Surrealism’s creation there was a rapid increase inthe technology of the time, due to the war effort around the Dada movementbeing over.
This advancement in technology and the modernisation of society wassomething that many in the early 20th century were against.Surrealists disagreed with this evolution and were against the furthering andmainstream element of modernisation, this only further enhanced the need forcultural rebellion which was prevalent in the surrealist mind-set. At the core of surrealism there was a passion for creating odd andthought-provoking juxtaposed images meant to make the audience question theconstruction and the intentions of the artist. Surrealism also allowed for theuse of recurring symbolism and the use of automatism, automatism being the actof drawing or writing with little conscious control.
The artists focused on havinga more unconventional approach.Jessika Toothman. (23 Mar 2010.)How Surrealism Works Online. Available at: https://entertainment.howstuffworks.
com/arts/artwork/surrealism.htm (Accessed 16 Jan 2018) Surrealism is more than an artmovement and a style of working to create unique art, there is strong politicalinfluences within the movement. The movement of artists are not pressured tocreate something aesthetically pleasing and work to accomplish a goal, it issimply about rejecting the rational and natural order of the artistic processand creating something new and showing a dream like quality within the work.There was a strong need for these surrealist artists to reject the rational andregular aspects of everyday life and the moral obligations of society in the1920’s across the world. This different take on the art world and thisphilosophy is said to have helped start more anarchistic art movements inmodern day and Surrealism has also fought against patriarchal institutions suchas the church.Shannon Gadd (2015) Surrealism Philosophy Online. Available at: https://blogs.
uk/philosophy/2015/11/29/surrealism/(Accessed 17 Jan 2018) The content of surrealist paintings and artwork varies from artist toartist so it is hard to summarise the work which is within the field ofSurrealism. The work which was created by the most famous artists, whichinclude Andre Masson, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro, is too diverse to becategorised effectively. Each artist, by unlocking the subconscious mind, haddifferent interpretations and fantasies which they wanted to portrayconsciously or subconsciously. However, some of the main techniques favoured bysurrealist artists are frottage (the act of rubbing graphite over wood or othergrained surfaces) and grattage (the act of scraping the canvas) Encyclopædia Britannica (18 Dec 2017) Surrealism Online. Avallabile at: https://www.britannica.com/art/Surrealism (Accessed 17 Jan 2018)