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“Psychic automatism, by which we propose to express, either verbally, in writing, or in still other ways, the real operations of thought.”

Such was Andre Breton’s definition of Surrealism his Surrealist Manifesto of 1924. The aim Surrealism of was to liberate thought from the control of reason, regardless of the aesthetic or moral consequences. Surrealist painting and writing were to become media for expression of the subconscious.

The first Surrealist exhibition took place in 1925, in the Pierre Gallery in Paris. Bringing together Max Ernst, Jean Arp, Man Ray, the Catalan painter Joan Miro (1893-1983), Picasso, and the Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978), it challenged prevailing notions of artistic decorum, good taste, and bourgeois morality. Andre Breton became editor of the magazine La Revolution surrealiste, and in 1929 he published a Second Surrealist Manifesto. The Catalan painter Salvador Dali (1904-89) made a spectacular entry into the group with a bizarre film he co-directed with his compatriot Luis Bunuel; entitled Un Chien andalou (“An Andalusian Dog”), it created a sensation. The Surrealist movement, centered on the measure of artistic creation, cultivated complete spontaneity. Its painters wrote (Max Ernst) and its poets painted (Robert Desnos). Its artists favored the media of collage and polyglot assemblage, developed the technique of frottage (making “accidental” rubbings), engaged in “automatic writing” – random writing thought to be impelled by the subconscious – and invented game they called “exquisite corpse.” Named after a poem obtained according to its rules, this procedure consists of passing a collage, drawing, or poem from person to person, each of whom adds something to the sequence without being able to see most of the previous contributions.

Surrealist painting encompasses works of enormous variety, including the nightmarish visions of Dali, the sand paintings of Andre Masson (1896-1987), the outlandish juxtapositions of Rene Magritte (1898 – 1967), the insolate urban views of Giorgio de Chirico, the clotted landscapes of Max Ernst, and the calcified forms of Yves Tanguy (1900-55). But all of these artists aimed to unlock the secrets of the subconscious.

By the end of the 1920s the movement had become international. Breton’s death in 1966 brought it to an official close, but its effects can still be felt today.

This article is courtesy of ‘The beginners guide to Art’ by Brigitte Govignon’ and brought to you by Blue horizon Printing. Experts in printing premium quality canvas prints with a massive range of abstract art prints along with a variety art. Visit the site at https://bluehorizonprints.com.au/

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