Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How Surreal

Surrealists: Man Ray, Jean Arp, Yves Tanguy, André Breton; Tristan Tzara, Salvador Dalí, Paul Eluard, Max Ernst and Rene Clevel, 1930.

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 artifact. 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 movement in the mid-1920s 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  and decalcomania.
Soon more visual artists became involved, including Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Francis Picabia, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dali, Luis Banuel, Alberto Giacometti, Valentine Hugo, Meret Oppenheim,Toyen   and later after the second war: Enrico Donati.  Though Breton admired Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp   and courted them to join the movement, they remained peripheral.  -Wikipedia

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