Surrealism This is Not a Pipe (1968) Rene Magritte
What is Surrealism?• A 20th-century literary and artistic movement that attempts to express the workings of the subconscious and is characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject matter.• “To expose psychological truth by stripping ordinary objects of their normal signiﬁcance, in order to create a compelling image that was beyond ordinary formal organization, in order to evoke empathy from the viewer.” 4 The Son of Man (1964) Rene Magritte
Origins of Surrealism• Surrealsim grew from the Dada Movement (1916-23), an anti-war, anti-materialistic and anti- nationalism movement that rejected traditional art standards.• Dadaism was born from the work of avant-garde painters, poets and ﬁlmmakers who ﬂocked to Zurich, Switzerland before and during WWI, and literally meant “hobby- horse” in French.• Surrealism was also inﬂuenced by Abstraction and Expressionism, and somewhat by Futurism and The Elephant of Celebes (1921) Cubism. Max Ernst
The Surrealist Movement• Surrealism began around WWI, and was popular through WWII.• The movement was a reaction against the nationalism (the country/state is most important or one’s country/state is better than all others) and rationalism (appealing to reason) movements that led to WW I and WWII.• The Surrealist Movement began in Paris, France and spread throughout Europe and beyond.• While Impressionists and Cubists were very concerned with painting the way we see—by blurring lines, or by showing an object from different sides at the same time—the Surrealists were more concerned with painting how we really think. They wanted to discover a new reality by mixing dreams with the imagination to create strange and unusual paintings that allowed individual artists to express new emotions and that would make us think. 3
Andre Breton• 1896-1966• French• Surrealism was ofﬁcially founded in 1924, when André Breton wrote Le Manifeste du Surréalisme.• He deﬁned Surrealism as "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."
Automatism• Automatic drawing was developed by the surrealists, as a means of expressing the subconscious.• In automatic drawing, the hand is allowed to move randomly across the paper. In applying chance and accident to mark-making, drawing is to a large extent freed of rational control. Hence the drawing produced may be attributed in part to the subconscious and may reveal something of the psyche, which would otherwise be repressed. 4 Automatic Drawing (1896-1897) Andre Masson
Apparition of Face and FruitFamous Surrealists Dish on a Beach (1938) Salvador Dali
Max Ernst• 1891 – 1976• German• “Painting is not for me either decorative amusement, or the plastic invention of felt reality; it must be every time: invention, discovery, revelation.”
This painting is from Ubu Imperator (1923)Ernst’s Dada phase. Max Ernst
Joan Miro• 1893 – 1983• Spanish• “The painting rises from the brushstrokes as a poem rises from the words. The meaning comes later.”• Did not call himself a Surrealist, but helped start the movement.• Practitioner of Automatism.
Miro’s ﬁrst Surrealist The Tilled Field (1923-24) Masterpiece. Joan Miro
Rene Magritte• 1898 – 1967• Belgian• It is a union that suggests the essential mystery of the world. Art for me is not an end in itself, but a means of evoking that mystery. ” - René Magritte on the juxtaposition of unrelated objects.• Began painting Surrealism after viewing Giorgio di Chirico’s work.
Love Song (1914) Memory (1948)Giorgio di Chirico Rene Magritte
Salvador Dali• 1904 – 1989• Spanish• “Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.”
Dali’s most famous The Persistence of Memory surrealist work. (1931) Salvador Dali
Women in Surrealism• Surrealism was the ﬁrst artistic movement of the 20th century in which women were able to explore feminism and stake a place in the art world.• "Putting psychic life in the service of revolutionary politics, Surrealism publicly challenged vanguard modernisms insistence on art for arts sake. But Surrealism also battled the social institutions - church, state, and family - that regulate the place of women within patriarchy. In offering some women their ﬁrst locus for artistic and social resistance, it became the ﬁrst modernist movement in which a group of women could explore female subjectivity and give form (however tentatively) to a feminine imaginary." • Whitney Chadwick, from Women, Surrealism, and Self-Representation
Frida Kahlo• 1907 – 1954• Mexican• “I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”
An Exploration on Roles Las Dos Fridas (1939) of Women in Society. Frieda Khalo
Remedios Varo• 1908 – 1963• Spanish• “On second thought, I think I am more crazy than my goat.”
Useless Science or theAlchemist (1955)Remedios Varo
Leonora Carrington• 1917 – 2011• English/Irish• "I didnt have time to be anyones muse... I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist."• As a young artist, married Max Ernst.
Impact of Surrealism• Inﬂuenced writing and art, as well as several literary and artistic movements, such as: • postmodernism • magic realism• Surrealism: “It deﬁnes a range of creative acts of revolt and efforts to liberate the imagination” 2
Was M.C. Escher a surrealist? Print Gallery (1956) M.C. Escher