Surrealism

Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artefact. Leader Andre Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement. Surrealism developed out of the Dada activities during World War I and the most important center of the movement was Paris. From the 1920s onward, the movement spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film, and music of many countries and languages, as well as political thought and practice, philosophy, and social theory. The word surrealist was coined by Guillaume Apollinaire and first appeared in the preface to his play Les Mamelles de Tiresias, which was written in 1903 and first performed in 1917. World War I scattered the writers and artists who had been based in Paris, and in the interim many became involved with Dada, believing that excessive rational thought and bourgeois values had brought the conflict of the war upon the world. The Dadaists protested with anti-art gatherings, performances, writings and art works. After the war, when they returned to Paris, the Dada activities continued. During the war, Andre Breton, who had trained in medicine and psychiatry, served in a neurological hospital where he used Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic methods with soldiers suffering from shell-shock. Meeting the young writer Jacques Vache, Breton felt that Vache was the spiritual son of writer and pa

aphysics founder Alfred Jarry. He admired the young writer's anti-social attitude and disdain for established artistic tradition. Later Breton wrote, "In literature, I was successively taken with Rimbaud, with Jarry, with Apollinaire, with Nouveau, with Lautreamont, but it is Jacques Vache to whom I owe the most."[1] Back in Paris, Breton joined in Dada activities and started the literary journal Litterature along with Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault. They began experimenting with automatic writingspontaneously writing without censoring their thoughtsand published the writings, as well as accounts of dreams, in the magazine. Breton and Soupault delved deeper into automatism and wrote The Magnetic Fields (1920). Continuing to write, they attracted more artists and writers; they came to believe that automatism was a better tactic for societal change than the Dada attack on prevailing values. The group grew to include Paul Eluard, Benjamin Peret, Rene Crevel, Robert Desnos, Jacques Baron, Max Morise,[2] Pierre Naville, Roger Vitrac, Gala Eluard, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Hans Arp, Georges Malkine, Michel Leiris, Georges Limbour, Antonin Artaud, Raymond Queneau, Andre Masson, Joan Miro, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Prevert, and Yves Tanguy.[3] Cover of the first issue of La Revolution surrealiste, December 1924. As they developed their philosophy, they believed that Surrealism would advocate the idea that ordinary and depictive expressions are vital and important, but that the sense of their arrangement must be open to the full range of imagination according to the Hegelian Dialectic. They also looked to the Marxist dialectic and the work of such theorists as Walter Benjamin and Herbert Marcuse.