Surrealism Assignment

“Surrealism is not a style. It is the cry of a mind turning back on itself.” – Antonin Artaud

Surrealism is a cultural movement and artistic style that began in approximately 1924 in Paris, France by the ideas of Sigmund Freud. Freud studied the human mind and practiced self analysis and became obsessed with the power of one’s imagination. His method of psychoanalysis was used to illuminate the unconscious. Freud said; “A dream that is not interpreted is like a letter that is not opened.” Surrealists absorbed and interpreted this idea and involved it in their artwork.

Freud influenced André Breton, a French writer, poet and one of the leading theorists of the movement who was greatly influenced by Dadaism.   Breton wrote the Surrealist Manifesto, a document in which he aimed to liberate one’s mind from everyday’s obvious reality and reasoning so one can explore unknown and impossible ideas.   Freud also greatly influenced Salvador Dali, perhaps its best-known practitioner; both men credited Freud for his work and inspiration.

Dadaism was also an artistic movement that emanated from hatred of the irrationality of WWI and the destruction that it caused, so they began to create pieces of art that would make us ‘rethink our world’. This movement paved the way to Surrealism which continued to question the nature of reality.

The basic principles behind Surrealism are to create art that has no sense of rationality and aims to confuse and ‘visually assault’ the viewer. Surrealist artwork is proposed to bypass the conscious mind and be absorbed and comprehended by the subconscious mind, which due to the dreamlike and obscure style of artwork makes the viewer quite uncomfortable because the art has no intention of logical comprehensibility. It leaves a huge gap between the visual imagery itself and actual comprehendible reality and intentionally disorientates and reorientates the conscious, by means of the unconscious. It might be a pleasing scene to...