Surrealism means super realism. Surrealism literary means ‘above
and beyond reality’. Surrealism sought to free the
imaginative human mind & reveal the unconscious encouraging and rejection to logic & reasoning.
Historical background :Surrealism was an artistic and literary movement that emerged in reaction to the horrors of World War I. Artists responded to the horrors of war by challenging the prevalent norms of society and its values. With a spirit of idealism, artist and writers shared a belief that they could change the world by freeing the unconscious mind from rational thought.
Surrealism term :
This term was coined by ‘Guillaume Apollinaire’ in 1917 to describe his
own play The Mammaries.
In 1924, the French poet André Breton founded the first official Surrealist group in Paris. It was comprised of gifted writers and poets; later visual artists joined the movement.
They practiced automatic techniques — writing, speaking, or making art without thinking about what they were creating, allowing images and ideas to flow freely from their imagination. Often they then worked back into a painting to “pull out” fantastic imagery
Freudian Influence :
Freud had significant influence on the beliefs and practices of the Surrealists. He believed that our subconscious thoughts are symbolically represented in our dreams and fully understand ourselves, we need to tap into these dreams and messages. Artists, writers and poets were inspired to explore the conscious and subconscious mind.
Forms of Surrealism :• Automatism • Veristic surrealism
Veristic Surrealism :
• Portray the dream world with rich detail.• Allow the subconscious to surface in order to
interpret meaning.• Closer to reality.• Hold some truth.
• Created The Surrealist Manifesto based on the “pure psychic automatism”
Poem Objet by Andre Breton, 1935
• Leading artist Automatist Surrealism art movement
• Bright primary colors• Biomorphic forms, • Rough geometric shapes • Marginally recognizable objects.
Symbols in work: the moon, birds and women
Most work incorporated themes of: the sea, stars, birds and animals
Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird, 1926
Max Ernst• Leading Veristic Surrealist
artist• Invented a new method
called frottage• Transferring textures
suggest proactive approach to composing image
• Experiment with mediums like, collage, decalcomania and exquisite corpse
Two Children are threatened by a Nightingale, 1924
• Shift into illusionary-visual movement • Same objects reappear (green apple, woman’s
body)• Started using dream theory more
Portrait of Edward James, 1937
Start of WWII ended it in Europe Breton and others moved it to New York Breton died, movement no longer organized
group Some artists continued as self- labeled
surrealists Surrealism itself hasn’t really ended and can
still be seen today