The Emergence of the Movement
After the end of World War I, Tristan Tzara, leader of
the Dada movement, wanted to attack society through scandal. He was against war
and he decided to create an anti-art movement where the focus was on ugliness (Sanchez,
2006). By doing this, he wanted to
insult bourgeoisie who finally embraced this rebellious new art.
This literary and artistic movement flourished in Europe between World
War I and II.
Two Distinct Groups Emergence
There are different trends of surrealism: Automatism and Veristic
● The Automatists:
The artists interpreted Automatism as referring to a suppression of
consciousness in favour of the subconscious.
They focused more on feelings and were less analytical than the Veristic
Surrealist group. They did not believe the images from the subconscious were an
good inspiration because they considered they were noet real and had no meaning.
● The Veristic Surrealists:
This group interpreted Automatism by allowing the images from the
subconscious to surface and to be analysed for their meanings.
The artists wanted to represent the images as linked to abstract
spiritual realities and real forms of the material world.
Surrealism is a ‘‘cultural, artistic, and
intellectual movement that is oriented toward the liberation of the mind by
emphasizing the critical and imaginative faculties of the unconscious mind and
the attainment of a state different from, ‘‘more than’’, and ultimately
‘‘truer’’ than everyday reality […].’’ (Pioch, 2002).
This movement was a means of reuniting consciousness and unconsciousness,
so that the world of dream and fantasy are joined to the everyday rational
The Influence of the Movement
The Surrealist movement was influenced by the psychological theories and dream studies of Sigmund Freud
(1856–1939) and the political ideas of Karl Marx (1818–1883). It was funded in Paris in 1924 by the poet and
critic Andre Breton, a French doctor, with his publication of ‘‘Manifeste
Surréaliste’’in 1924 (Durozoi, 2004).
The ancestry of Surrealism is traced to the French poets: Beaudelaire,
Rimbaud, and Appolinaire; and the Italian painter: Giorgio de Chirico.
The Surrealist Literary Movement
At the beginning, in the late 1910s and early ‘20s,
Surrealism was a literary movement that experimented with a new
mode of expression called automatic writing, or automatism, which sought to
release the unbridled imagination of the subconscious (Caws, 2001).
poets were at first reluctant to align themselves with visual artists because
they believed that the laborious processes of painting, drawing, and sculpting
were not respecting the spontaneity of uninhibited expression. Here are some
A member of the surrealist group from 1924 to 1929, he wrote one of the first surreal novels, Aurora (1927-8); also an ethnologist and anthropologist, co-editor with Bataille of Documents and with Sartre of Les Temps Modernes.
One of the first Parisian
Dadaists and one of the founders of Surrealism, Peret has been called "the
best of the Surrealist poets" and was the most admired writer within the
group. He also wrote a novel, Death to the
Pigs and to the Field of Glory (1923), short fiction and critical essays. In
addition to his surrealist work, Peret was a dedicated Communist for most of his
life and was deported from Brazil for revolutionary activity.
Shortly after the
introduction of the literary movement, Surrealism found its greatest expression
through the visual arts. The
artists were influenced by the psychological research of Sigmud Freud, who
explained the mind though analysis of the symbols of dreams. ‘‘ A dream that
is not interpreted is like a letter that is not opened’’ is a famous quote
from Freud (Grolier, 1996). Here
are some surrealist artists:
Salvador Dali is considered
as the greatest artist of the surrealist art movement and one of the greatest
masters of art of the twentieth century. During his lifetime the public got a
picture of an excentric paranoid. His personality caused a lot of controversy.
By 1929 Dali had found his personal style that should make him famous -
the world of the unconscious that is recalled during our dreams.
Ruiz Picasso (1881-1973)
Spanish painter, who is widely acknowledged to be the most
important artist of the 20th century. A long-lived and highly prolific
artist, he experimented with a wide range of styles and themes throughout his
career. Among Picasso’s many contributions to the history of art, his most
important include pioneering the modern art movement called cubism, inventing
collage as an artistic technique, and developing assemblage (constructions of
various materials) in sculpture.
Caws, Mary Ann
Surrealist Painters and
Poets: An Anthology. MIT
History of the Surrealist Movement. University Press of Chicago, 2004.
Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Grolier
‘‘Surrealism’’. WebMuseum, Paris. 2002.
‘‘History of Surrealism’’. Online.
Internet. 20 March. 2006.