What is Surrealism?

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What is Surrealism?

Surrealism example: The Persistence of Memory

Surrealism was a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. The word 'surrealist' was coined by Guillaume Apollinaire and first appeared in the preface to his play Les Mamelles de Tirésias, which was written in 1903 and was first performed in 1917.

The unconscious mind

The movement sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind. It was influenced by psychoanalysis. The Surrealists regarded with contempt rationalism and literary realism and believed the rational mind repressed the power of the imagination, overburdening it with taboos. The aim was to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality". Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself.

Freud's work with free association, dream analysis, and the unconscious was of utmost importance to the Surrealists in developing methods to liberate imagination. They embraced idiosyncrasy, while rejecting the idea of an underlying madness. As Salvador Dalí, one of the leading surrealists, later proclaimed, "There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad."

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.

Origin and impact

Surrealism developed largely out of the Dada activities during World War I. In addition to being anti-war, Dada had political affinities with the radical left and was also anti-bourgeois. and. The most important center of the movement was Paris. From the 1920s onward, the movement spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film, and music of many countries and languages, as well as political thought and practice, philosophy, and social theory.

Source: wikipedia

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