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Andre Breton - Surrealism And Painting
Surrealism was a cultural movement which developed in Europe in the aftermath of World War I and was largely influenced by Dada. Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes, sometimes with photographic precision , creating strange creatures from everyday objects, and developing painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself.
Works of Surrealism 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 themselves being an artifact.
Leader Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was, above all, a revolutionary movement. At the time, the movement was associated with political causes such as communism and anarchism. The term "Surrealism" is said to have been coined by Guillaume Apollinaire as early as From the s onward, the movement spread around the globe, impacting 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 'surrealism' was first coined in March by Guillaume Apollinaire. Apollinaire used the term in his program notes for Sergei Diaghilev 's Ballets Russes , Parade , which premiered 18 May Parade had a one-act scenario by Jean Cocteau and was performed with music by Erik Satie.
Cocteau described the ballet as "realistic". Apollinaire went further, describing Parade as "surrealistic": . This new alliance—I say new, because until now scenery and costumes were linked only by factitious bonds—has given rise, in Parade , to a kind of surrealism, which I consider to be the point of departure for a whole series of manifestations of the New Spirit that is making itself felt today and that will certainly appeal to our best minds.
We may expect it to bring about profound changes in our arts and manners through universal joyfulness, for it is only natural, after all, that they keep pace with scientific and industrial progress.
Apollinaire, . 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.
He admired the young writer's anti-social attitude and disdain for established artistic tradition. They began experimenting with automatic writing —spontaneously writing without censoring their thoughts—and published the writings, as well as accounts of dreams, in the magazine.
Breton and Soupault continued writing evolving their techniques of automatism and published The Magnetic Fields By October two rival Surrealist groups had formed to publish a Surrealist Manifesto. Each claimed to be successors of a revolution launched by Appolinaire. 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. Freud's work with free association, dream analysis, and the unconscious was of utmost importance to the Surrealists in developing methods to liberate imagination. They embraced idiosyncrasy , while rejecting the idea of an underlying madness. I am not mad. Beside the use of dream analysis, they emphasized that "one could combine inside the same frame, elements not normally found together to produce illogical and startling effects.
The group aimed to revolutionize human experience, in its personal, cultural, social, and political aspects. They wanted to free people from false rationality, and restrictive customs and structures. Breton proclaimed that the true aim of Surrealism was "long live the social revolution, and it alone! In two Surrealist factions declared their philosophy in two separate Surrealist Manifestos. Leading up to , two rival surrealist groups had formed.
Each group claimed to be successors of a revolution launched by Apollinaire. In the end, Breton won the battle through tactical and numerical superiority. Breton's Surrealist Manifesto defines the purposes of Surrealism. He included citations of the influences on Surrealism, examples of Surrealist works, and discussion of Surrealist automatism. He provided the following definitions:. Dictionary: Surrealism, n. Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought.
Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation. Encyclopedia: Surrealism. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of previously neglected associations, in the omnipotence of dream, in the disinterested play of thought.
It tends to ruin once and for all other psychic mechanisms and to substitute itself for them in solving all the principal problems of life. The movement in the mids was characterized by meetings in cafes where the Surrealists played collaborative drawing games, discussed the theories of Surrealism, and developed a variety of techniques such as automatic drawing.
Breton initially doubted that visual arts could even be useful in the Surrealist movement since they appeared to be less malleable and open to chance and automatism. This caution was overcome by the discovery of such techniques as frottage , grattage  and decalcomania. Though Breton admired Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp and courted them to join the movement, they remained peripheral. In an autonomous Surrealist group formed in Brussels. The group included the musician, poet, and artist E.
In they were joined by the writer Louis Scutenaire. They corresponded regularly with the Paris group, and in both Goemans and Magritte moved to Paris and frequented Breton's circle. Another example is Giacometti's Torso , which marked his movement to simplified forms and inspiration from preclassical sculpture.
However, a striking example of the line used to divide Dada and Surrealism among art experts is the pairing of 's Little Machine Constructed by Minimax Dadamax in Person Von minimax dadamax selbst konstruiertes maschinchen  with The Kiss Le Baiser  from by Max Ernst. The first is generally held to have a distance, and erotic subtext, whereas the second presents an erotic act openly and directly.
Giorgio de Chirico, and his previous development of metaphysical art , was one of the important joining figures between the philosophical and visual aspects of Surrealism. Between and , he adopted an unornamented depictional style whose surface would be adopted by others later. The Red Tower La tour rouge from shows the stark colour contrasts and illustrative style later adopted by Surrealist painters.
He was also a writer whose novel Hebdomeros presents a series of dreamscapes with an unusual use of punctuation, syntax, and grammar designed to create an atmosphere and frame its images. He would, however, leave the Surrealist group in The show confirmed that Surrealism had a component in the visual arts though it had been initially debated whether this was possible , and techniques from Dada, such as photomontage , were used.
Breton published Surrealism and Painting in which summarized the movement to that point, though he continued to update the work until the s. The magazine and the portfolio both showed their disdain for literal meanings given to objects and focused rather on the undertones, the poetic undercurrents present.
Not only did they give emphasis to the poetic undercurrents, but also to the connotations and the overtones which "exist in ambiguous relationships to the visual images" . Because Surrealist writers seldom, if ever, appear to organize their thoughts and the images they present, some people find much of their work difficult to parse. This notion however is a superficial comprehension, prompted no doubt by Breton's initial emphasis on automatic writing as the main route toward a higher reality.
But—as in Breton's case—much of what is presented as purely automatic is actually edited and very "thought out". Breton himself later admitted that automatic writing's centrality had been overstated, and other elements were introduced, especially as the growing involvement of visual artists in the movement forced the issue, since automatic painting required a rather more strenuous set of approaches.
Thus such elements as collage were introduced, arising partly from an ideal of startling juxtapositions as revealed in Pierre Reverdy 's poetry. And—as in Magritte's case where there is no obvious recourse to either automatic techniques or collage —the very notion of convulsive joining became a tool for revelation in and of itself. Surrealism was meant to be always in flux—to be more modern than modern—and so it was natural there should be a rapid shuffling of the philosophy as new challenges arose.
Artists such as Max Ernst and his surrealist collages demonstrate this shift to a more modern art form that also comments on society. Other works included books, poems, pamphlets, automatic texts and theoretical tracts.
Roger Vitrac 's The Mysteries of Love and Victor, or The Children Take Over are often considered the best examples of Surrealist theatre, despite his explusion from the movement in Following his collaboration with Vitrac, Artaud would extend Surrealist though through his theory of the Theatre of Cruelty. Artaud rejected the majority of Western theatre as a perversion of its original intent, which he felt should be a mystical, metaphysical experience. Other surrealist plays include Aragon's Backs to the Wall In the s several composers were influenced by Surrealism, or by individuals in the Surrealist movement.
Even though Breton by responded rather negatively to the subject of music with his essay Silence is Golden , later Surrealists, such as Paul Garon , have been interested in—and found parallels to—Surrealism in the improvisation of jazz and the blues.
Jazz and blues musicians have occasionally reciprocated this interest. Surrealism as a political force developed unevenly around the world: in some places more emphasis was on artistic practices, in other places on political practices, and in other places still, Surrealist praxis looked to supersede both the arts and politics. Politically, Surrealism was Trotskyist , communist , or anarchist. Breton and his comrades supported Leon Trotsky and his International Left Opposition for a while, though there was an openness to anarchism that manifested more fully after World War II.
When the Dutch surrealist photographer Emiel van Moerkerken came to Breton, he did not want to sign the manifesto because he wasn't a Trotskyist. For Breton being a communist wasn't enough. Breton denied Van Moerkerken's pictures for a publication afterwards.
Others fought for complete liberty from political ideologies, like Wolfgang Paalen , who, after Trotsky's assassination in Mexico, prepared a schism between art and politics through his counter-surrealist art-magazine DYN and so prepared the ground for the abstract expressionists. Breton's followers, along with the Communist Party , were working for the "liberation of man". However, Breton's group refused to prioritize the proletarian struggle over radical creation such that their struggles with the Party made the late s a turbulent time for both.
Many individuals closely associated with Breton, notably Aragon, left his group to work more closely with the Communists. Surrealists have often sought to link their efforts with political ideals and activities. In the Declaration of January 27, ,  for example, members of the Paris-based Bureau of Surrealist Research including Breton, Aragon and Artaud, as well as some two dozen others declared their affinity for revolutionary politics.
While this was initially a somewhat vague formulation, by the s many Surrealists had strongly identified themselves with communism. The foremost document of this tendency within Surrealism is the Manifesto for a Free Revolutionary Art ,  published under the names of Breton and Diego Rivera , but actually co-authored by Breton and Leon Trotsky.
In , the Paris Surrealist group and the extreme left of the French Communist Party came together to support Abd-el-Krim , leader of the Rif uprising against French colonialism in Morocco. In an open letter to writer and French ambassador to Japan, Paul Claudel , the Paris group announced:.
We Surrealists pronounced ourselves in favour of changing the imperialist war, in its chronic and colonial form, into a civil war. Thus we placed our energies at the disposal of the revolution, of the proletariat and its struggles, and defined our attitude towards the colonial problem, and hence towards the colour question.
Surrealism and Painting – Andre Breton
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Surrealism was a cultural movement which developed in Europe in the aftermath of World War I and was largely influenced by Dada. Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes, sometimes with photographic precision , creating strange creatures from everyday objects, and developing painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself. Works of Surrealism 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 themselves being an artifact. Leader Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was, above all, a revolutionary movement. At the time, the movement was associated with political causes such as communism and anarchism. The term "Surrealism" is said to have been coined by Guillaume Apollinaire as early as From the s onward, the movement spread around the globe, impacting the visual arts, literature, film, and music of many countries and languages, as well as political thought and practice, philosophy, and social theory.
Surrealism and Painting – Andre Breton. The eye exists in its primitive state. The marvels of the earth a hundred feet high, the marvels of the sea a hundred feet.
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They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. This literature tends to see civil conflicts as a struggle over resources, consistent with the above empirical work. He studied medicine and psychiatry, displaying a special interest in mental illness.
Caught by Politics pp Cite as. In the s and early s, surrealist ideas and practices, with their emphasis on the unconscious, the irrational, and the accidental, significantly broadened both the painterly and the narrative possibilities open to American artists. The cultural impact of the surrealist emigres in the s was prepared by the prior decade of transatlantic exchange. Following a period of experimentation and negotiation, American artists would effect a transvaluation of surrealism by bringing to bear a range of new postwar cultural, scientific, and broadly philosophical influences.
4 Dada Suicides: Selected Texts of Arthur Cravan, Jacques Rigaut, Julien Torma, and Jacques Vaché
Access options available:. The task of faithfully and effectively translating Baudelaire is an extremely difficult one, as Charvet readily admits. The answer is affirmative only on the last two counts. Excellence for Baudelaire depended on the degree to which a work of art excited the emotions, stimulated the intellect, penetrated the soul or induced reverie p. In sum, any faults the book as a whole possesses are more than amply offset by the virtues of the Introduction. Surrealism and Painting. Andr6 Breton.
The eye exists in its primitive state. The marvels of the earth a hundred feet high, the marvels of the sea a hundred feet deep, have for their witness only the wild eye that when in need of colours refers simply to the rainbow.