The Basic Rundown
Fantastic and unbelievable, Surrealism presents us with images we may never have, even in our wildest dreams, imagined. Works earning the stamp of surrealism break the rules of the universe, toss our world upside, and offer up unexpected delight. Salvatore Dali, widely accepted as the father of Surrealism, best displays its true essence in his melting clocks seen in “Persistence of Memory” and his mirage-like landscapes.
A Basic History
Surrealism is both an artistic and cultural movement that found its beginnings in the early twentieth century through the writings of playwright Guillaume Apollinaire. The movement grew out of Dadaism, a protest to the emptiness of the civilized world amidst World War I.
Surrealist artists champion philosophy and fantastic images of the subconscious mind. During the WWI period, Sigmund Freud’s work was gaining popularity, his research and writings emphasizing the subconscious mind and psyche. The surrealists explored and adopted the subconscious mind as a medium, which then manifested itself in their dream-like, off-quilter works. Surrealists made dedicated themselves to giving form to that which had no form, perhaps best demonstrated in dreamscapes and automatism (drawing without an apparent visual model).
In 1924, André Breton published the Surrealist Manifesto, which defined surrealism as:
“Psychic automatism… [is] the actual functioning of thought… dictated by the thought.”
Notable Surrealists: Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Man Ray, André Masson, Joan Miró and Marcel Duchamp, Giorgio de Chirico