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The Origins Of Surrealism Essay

2003 words - 8 pages

Green 1 Controlled Chaos: The Impact of Surrealism on the Art World The Surrealist movement that began in the 1920’s, was unlike anything the art world had ever seen before. While Surrealist painters borrowed techniques from previous “ism” movements, for example Impressionism and Cubism, the prominent painters of this movement had acquired a new, shocking style all their own. Surrealism, as an art movement, stressed the importance of expanding one’s mind in order to welcome other depictions of ‘reality’. Surrealist artists channelled their subconscious and their works reflected images of total mind liberation. Unlike the art movements before it, Surrealism came the closest to truly reflecting the human dreamlike state. While this essay will explore the purpose, techniques and lasting impact of the Surrealist art movement, it should be noted that this movement transcended the boundaries of the image arts world. The influence of Surrealism can be felt in the fields of literature, film, music and philosophy, among others. The Surrealist movement started in 1920’s Europe, with Paris as the unofficial basis for the movement. Surrealism is usually linked with the Dada movement. Dadaism attacked the conventional forms of aesthetics and it stressed how absurd and unpredictable the process of artistic creation was. They created pieces of ‘non-art’ to show, out of protest, how meaningless European culture had become (de la Croix 705). The Dada movement was declared dead around 1922 when it had become ‘too organised‘ a movement, but it planted the seeds for Surrealism (de la Croix 706). While the Dada movement provided the basis for Surrealism, Surrealism was lighter and much less violent than its predecessor. Dadaism provided a basis for Surrealism, but its values were Green 2 modified in the process. The person accredited with bringing about the Surrealist initiative is the French poet, André Brenton. He is often referred to as the ‘Pope of Surrealism’. He penned the ‘Surrealist Manifesto’ to express how he wanted to combine the conscious and the subconscious into one ‘absolute reality’ (de la Croix 708). Brenton first used the term ‘surrealism’ as a way of describing work that used components of fantasy and the modern world in order to create a superior reality. The first exhibitions of Surrealist paintings were in 1925. However, they were met with hostility in Europe (Diehl 131). New life was breathed into the Surrealist ideas when Brenton set up an International Exhibition of Surrealism in New York. The movement became an inspiration to young artists living in the United States and Mexico. Originally, there was a recurring pattern in Western art where the purpose of the piece was to recreate the physical appearance of reality. Any deviation from the original (or to put it simply, what the artist was supposed to be drawing) was seen as an artistic error. If there was any evidence of the artist’s personal construction of ‘reality’, the artwork would be...

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