Surrealism originated in the late 1910s/ early 20s in Paris, France, beginning as a literary movement, seeking to release the subconscious thoughts of the imagination. The ideas began with with the publication of the Manifesto of Surrealism by the poet and critic André Breton, surrealism became an important political, intellectual movement internationally. The main founders of the idea were psychiatrist Andre Breton, poets Louis Aragon, Paul Éluard and Philippe Soupault, they were all inspired by the analysis of dreams grounded by the theories of Sigmund Freud. Their poetry drew out the private thoughts from the mind, usually restricted by reason and society at this time to produce a new form of illustrative imagery.
At first the surrealist poets were reluctant to collaborate with painters, they believed their long, laborious work couldn’t be a form of spontaneous expression. These thoughts were overcome, and soon musicians, painter, poets and writers were all working together for the surrealist movement.
The collaborators hoped the surrealist work had the power to reveal the contradictions in society and spark a revolution. They believed in the power of the imagination and sought it from ordinary places and elements of everyday life.
By 1939 the main surrealists including Andre Breton, Max Ernst and Andre Mason were all based in the US. With the marriage of Max Ernst to the millionairess art collector Peggy Guggenheim and the contacts with Marcehel Duchamp, they proved very influential with the surrealist movement. Many styles of late modern and contemporary art came from surrealism; such as pop art, Assemblage, Installation, conceptual art and performance were all inspired by surrealism in one way or another.
There is no definite end of surrealism, as each critic and historian has their own take how the movement disbanded. Some say it was after the deaths of the key figures like Breton in 1966, or later Dali in 1989 marking the end of this organised movement. Surrealism as a style was and still is very popular in the art world.
Breton defines the movement of: “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express – verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner – the actual functioning of thought.” Wanting the artists to access the subconscious mind, making art inspired by the unconscious realm.
The artists that particularly resonate with me being the work of Max Ernst, the trickery of the mind and elaborate surreal happenings in his images I love, making for very interesting imagery, inspiring more creative ideas derived from the ordinary.
Salvador Dahli also was a great name of the Surrealist movement, with his astonishing and unique style of painting and use of vivid colours.
I find surrealism connects with me, whereas realism doesn’t. The fantastical illusions make my head spin wheras realism I find very one dimensional, many images only telling one story, images I see so often that don’t tend to inspire my imagination, or make me think about anything deeper than the aesthetics of the imagery. I want to strive to create something new and innovative, like each of the artists, Renee Margritte, Dali, Ernst all have their own distinct style with no two paintings being alike. Creating work from the fantasy, delving into my creative mind will push the boundaries in the project, trying something that is completely different form my usual work, I am finding myself and adopting my own style as the project progresses. Researching into the surrealist work has given me the spark to reach into my mind to conjure up extraordinary, bizarre scenes which will make the viewer think and immerse themselves int he imagery, pondering upon the themes and scenarios, just like I view the work these surrealist painters.