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Surrealism History and Characteristics


Josh Hettel

on 31 August 2012

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Transcript of Surrealism History and Characteristics

Salvador Dali
A cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members. It was spun from the Dada Art Movement
Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact. Leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement.
A non sequitur (pronounced /ˌnɒnˈsiːkwɨtər or ˌnɒnˈsɛkwɨtər/) is a conversational and literary device, often used for comedic purposes. It is a comment which, due to its apparent lack of meaning relative to what it follows, seems absurd to the point of being humorous or confusing, as in the following exchange:

Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Fish.
World War I - 1914 -1918
Automatic Drawings
Automatism - spontaneous verbal or motor behavior; an act performed unconsciously.
Andre Masson - Automatic Drawing
Pure psychic automatism" was how André Breton defined surrealism, and while the definition has proved capable of significant expansion, automatism remains of prime importance in the movement.
Automatic drawing (distinguished from drawn expression of mediums) was developed by the surrealists, as a means of expressing the subconscious. In automatic drawing, the hand is allowed to move 'randomly' across the paper. In applying chance and accident to mark-making, drawing is to a large extent freed of rational control. Hence the drawing produced may be attributed in part to the subconscious and may reveal something of the psyche, which would otherwise be repressed.
What does Surreal mean in your own words?
Dada Art Movement
Art movement which had an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general.
Man Ray - The Gift
The founding of Surrealism is accredited to the writer Andre Brenton, who participated (1920’s) in the post war WWI art movement of Dadaism.
Brenton, dissatisfied with the seemingly nonsensical activities of the movement, set out to make something more organized out of the unfocused Dadas. Andre Brenton wrote the “Manifesto of Surrealism,” outlining his view on current psychologist Sigmund Freud’s theory that the human psyche is a battleground where the rational conscious mind struggles against irrational, instinctual unconscious.
Sigmund Freud
-was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis.
Freud later developed theories about the unconscious mind and the mechanism of repression, and established the field of verbal psychotherapy by creating psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient (or "analysand") and a psychoanalyst.
-Soldiers coming back from WWI were suffering from shell shock and post traumatic stress
Techniques of Surrealism
Surrealists developed a number of techniques for liberating the unconscious through dream analysis, free association, automatic writing, word games, and hypnotic trances. The aim was to help people discover the more intense reality, or “surreality,” that lay beyond the narrow rational notions of what is real.
Particulaly inventive in his use of automatism was Max Ernst.
The Horde -1927

Used technique of Frottage - rubbing of pencil or crayon across a piece of paper placed on a textured surface.
Resulting imprins stimulated imagination and discovered fantastic creatures, plants, and landscapes which he developed into additional drawings.
Juxtaposition - is the placement of two things (usually abstract concepts, though it can refer to physical objects) near each other
Meret Oppenheim - Object 1936
Giorgio de Chirico - Love Song
Max Ernst, The Elephant Celebes (1921),
Max Ernst
L'Ange du Foyer ou le Triomphe du Surréalisme -1937
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