If we want to understand Surrealism we should look for its roots in Dada but... ¿What is DADA?
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! I said DADA! Not GAGA!
Essentially (and probably deliberately) a nonsense word, Dada means Yes-Yes in Russian, and There-There in German (universal baby-talk); while in French it means hobbyhorse. DADA
4. DADA 4.1. Definition and main characteristics: The first major anti-art movement , Dada was a revolt against the culture and values which had caused and supported the carnage of The First World War (1914-18). It quickly developed into an anarchistic anti-art movement whose aim was to subvert and undermine the value system of the ruling establishment which had allowed the war to happen, including the arts establishment which they viewed as inextricably linked to the discredited socio-political status quo. Erupting simultaneously in 1916, in Europe and America in different cities as Paris, Berlin, Hannover, K ö ln and New York.
The movement used outrageous tactics to attack the established traditions of art, employing a barrage of demonstrations and manifestos, as well as exhibitions of absurdist art deliberately designed to scandalize and shock both the authorities and the general public. Centers of public Dada activities were usually small and intimate: they included the Zurich Cabaret Voltaire ; Alfred Stieglitz's Photo-Secession Gallery, the Arensberg's apartment and Marius de Zaya's Modern Gallery, all in New York; and the Club Dada in Berlin. Poet Richard Huelsenbeck (1892-1927) Tristan Tzara (1896-1963) Painter-musician: Hugo Ball (1886-1927) Painter and artist: Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) Painter: Francis Picabia (1879-1953) Painter, sculptor and photographer: Man Ray (1890-1977) 4.2. Literature and manifestos
Proclamation without Pretension - Tristan Tzara Art is going to sleep for a new world to be born "ART"-parrot word-replaced by DADA, PLESIOSAURUS, or handkerchief The talent THAT CAN BE LEARNED makes the poet a druggist TODAY the criticism of balances no longer challenges with resemblances Hypertrophic painters hyperaes- theticized and hypnotized by the hyacinths of the hypocritical-looking muezzins CONSOLIDATE THE HARVEST OF EX- ACT CALCULATIONS Hypodrome of immortal guarantees: there is no such thing as importance there is no transparence or appearance MUSICIANS SMASH YOUR INSTRUMENTS BLIND MEN take the stage
Hugo Ball at Cabaret Voltaire 1916
4.3. Artistic technic. A collage (as you already know) is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assamblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. The Dadaist collage may include almost ANYTHING: newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of colored or hand-made papers, portions of other artwork, photographs and other found objects (sometimes garbage), glued to a piece of paper or canvas. «Y’ a bon» Francis Picabia, 1920
«Relief» Hans Arp, 1920
The photography and specially the photomontage (collage made of photos) were very common technics. The photomontage was a contribution of Raoul Haussmann, George Grosz and John Heartfield. « Remember Uncle August the Unhappy Inventor » George Grosz, 1919
4.4. Main artist.
«Merzbild 1 A, the psychiatrist» Kurt Schwitters, 1919 «Parade amoureuse» Francis Picabia 1917
«Adolf, the superman, swallows gold and sounds false» John Heartfield, 1932
«Rayogram» Man Ray 1922
5.1. Main characteristics Surrealism was an art movement of the inter-war years, and the last major art movement to be associated with Paris. Its name derived from the phrase Drame surrealiste , the sub-title of a 1917 play by the writer and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918). Surrealism evolved out of the nihilistic "anti-art" Dada movement, most of whose members became surrealists. While Dada was revolutionary, Surrealism was less overtly political and advocated a more positive philosophy. Summed up by André Breton as " thought expressed in the absence of any control exerted by reason, and outside all moral and aesthetic considerations .“ Initially, the main focus of the movement was literature but this rapidly involved painting, sculpture and other forms of contemporary visual art as cinema. Surrealists aimed to generate an entirely new set of imagery by liberating the creative power of the unconscious mind (dreams, hallucinations, automatic or random image generation).
5.2. Philosophical Influences: Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was a Viennese neurologist who founded the psychoanalysis . Breton and other surrealists were highly impressed with Freud's insights into the unconscious , which they thought would be a major source of untapped pictures and imagery. They used his theories to clear away boundaries between fantasy and reality, and to address a number of disquieting drives as fear, desire and eroticization.
Our mind according to Freud…
Who Founded Surrealism? The writer Andr é Breton (1896-1966), nicknamed "the Pope of Surrealism", was the movement's founder and chief theorist. He introduced and defined the new style in his initial 1924 manifesto ( Manifeste du Surrealisme ) and later in his painting bulletin ( Surrealisme et la Peinture ). Breton, who was an ex dadaist, deplored the nihilistic and destructive character of Dada, nevertheless he built on many Dada ideas to create a movement with a coherent though doctrinaire philosophy Breton's overall aim was in fact highly revolutionary. He aimed at nothing less than a total transformation of the way people thought by breaking down the barriers between their inner and outer worlds, and changing the way they perceived reality, he intended to liberate the unconscious, reconcile it with the conscious . 5.3. Literature and manifestos: André Breton.
Max Erns, «The meeting of friends» 1922
5.4. Artistic influences: Other painters toked as model by the Surrealism. 2. Any manifestation of European artistic trend in touch with obsessive and eccentric subjects: Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) “ The Garden of Earthly Delights” 1480-1490
«The Haywain Triptych» 1502
Henry Fuseli (1741-1825) «The nigthmare» 1781
Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) engravings of prisons « Carceri d’invenzione» 1745 Plate 1 Title
William Blake (1757-1827) Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) «Beata Beatrice» 1864-1870 «Ancient of Days» 1794
Gustave Moreau (1828-1898) “ Oedipus and the Sphinx”, 1794
Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978) Metaphysical school of painting
3. And DADA, of course...
5.5.Figurative Surrealism Renne Magritte (1898-1967) «Gonconda» 1953 The Empire of Lights. 1954 «The Lovers» 1928
Paul Delvaux (1897-1994) «The sleepingVenus» 1944
Marx Ernst (1891-1976) «The bride’s dress»
5.6. Abstract Surrealism André Masson (1896-1987) «La belle italien» 1942 « La famille en état de métamorphose » 1929