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The Surreal..Surrealist..Surrealism
The Surreal world of The Surrealism
The Surrealist Surreal attempt on The Surrealism
How Surreal is Surrealism?
The Surrealization of Surrealism

More real than the real world behind the real-the world of intuition, dreams, and the
unconscious realm explored by the psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud. (Meggs p.243). It is said to
be the inspiration which led the poet Andr Breton to surrealism. As surrealism is about
interpreting the unconscious. Unconscious is a state of mind which we are usually not aware of,
an undirected thoughts and dreams. Surreal does not necessarily means unreal rather is it
incongruous.
Unconscious is a state where were not awake nor aware of our surroundings, its like when were
sleeping. Though also even when were awake and day dreaming, we kind of unaware of the
world as we are inside our dreams. This is what makes this particular art movement interesting
because what makes it different is the fact that it is highly connected to the psychology world.
The poet named Andr Breton (1896-1966) whom also a trained psychiatrist, and was known to
be the founding father of surrealism was interested in Freuds theories of the unconscious realm
that led him and his friends to started the automatic writing which is a way of writing without
being effected by reason nor control to get a more realistic feeling out of it.

However, before we got deeper about surrealism, its good if we learn a little bit about what
inspires surrealism in the first place to help us get a better understanding at the movement
itself. Which means, it is time to talk about.

Dada.
Dada was an art movement before surrealism that wasnt actually intended to be a part of the art
movement. As dada was actually a protest against the First World War which was happening at
the time. Dada came to the surface of the earth around 1916 in Zurich though it got around other
European cities fairly quickly. Dada was all about protests, nonsense, negativity, and most of all
anti-art. Dadaist mostly recreate art only to mock them, though theyre not necessarily attacking
the art itself, it was rather a rebellion against the world war, the decay of European society, the
blind faith in technological progress and the inadequacy of religion. All traditions to be rejected.
(Meggs 1998, p.239) Yet that did not stop some of Dadaist to create meaningful artwork that
influenced graphic design nonetheless.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was one of dadas most prominent artist. His reproduction of
Mona Lisa was enigmatic. Admired by a group of young Parisian poets which was effectively led
by Andr Breton and includes Louis Aragon, Thodore Fraenkel, Paul Eluard, and Philippe
Soupault grouped around the journal Littrature. (Hopkins 2004, p.14). Becoming a Dadaist,
Breton was inspired by a couple of figures. The most important one of all is the French poet
Guillaume Apollinaire, who was known to be Bretons friend and role model also the first one
who used the surraliste word when describing his own play Les Mamelles de Tirsias. Dada
wasnt standing for very long though, after the world war was over, Dada had lost its virtue. It
became absurd, overly anarchy and started to sink in its own negativity in 1919, then considered
demised by the end of 1922.
Now back to surrealism
Most of my research indicates that in 1924 when Breton released his first Surrealist Manifesto is
the official year of the starting point for surrealism. But Aspley (2010, p. xviii) made a good
point as to in 1919 can also be the birth of surrealism because it was the time when the
automatic writing was personally discovered by Breton. However Aspley put the year 1919 on
the before surrealism period in his chronology chapter in the book. (Aspley, 2010). 1924,

Surrealism made its mark in art history was officially announcesd by its known founder Andr
Breton (1896-1966) with his publication of his Manifesto du Surrealisme
In 1924, Surrealism made its mark in art history and was officially announced by its known
founder Andr Breton (1896-1966) with the publication of his Manifesto du Surrealisme which
was his first surrealist manisfesto. As described above, the word surrealism itself was first
coined in 1917 by Bretons role model Apollinaire, though according to Hopkins (2004, p.17)
Breton gave a greater precision for the word in his manifesto and was said to be based on the
believe in the superior reality of certain previously neglected associations, in the omnipotence of
dreams in the disinterested play of thought. The work of Sigmund Freud was profoundly
influential for Surrealists, particularly his book, The Interpretation of Dreams (1899). Freud
legitimized the importance of dreams and the unconscious as valid revelations of human
emotion and desires; his exposure of the complex and repressed inner worlds of sexuality,
desire, and violence provided a theoretical basis for much of Surrealism. (The Art Story
Contibutors, 2016). There was mostly poetries and hardly any visual art at this point, the
manifesto was essentially a poets charter and priority was accorded to psychic automatismby
means of the written word, or in any other manner.

With just French poets and writers such as Alfred Jarry, Arthur Rimbaud, Isidore Ducasse (the
Comte de Lautramont), Raymond Roussel, surrealism began as a literary movement. It didnt
attract many outsiders though because it was only between their own circle. Then visual artists,
particularly painters started increasing in the group, even though at first the poets arent
actually welcoming visual artists because they questioning the fact that the process of painting,
drawing and sculpting doesnt seem to be automatic enough and it was said to be at odds with
spontaneity of uninhibited expression. But the poets werent exactly against visual artist, they
were actually respect artists such as Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973),
Francis Picabia (1879-1953), and Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) for their analytic, provocative,
and erotic qualities. (Voorhies, J. October 2004). Then theres dream painting method which
was started by Max Ernst who was one of the first visual artist to be a part of the surrealism
movement recreating works of the Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico. With the idea of surrealism
was without the control of reason, surrealist artists got a small problem because having dream
as the main subject still need conscious necessarily to process it into paintings or artworks. Then
some artists like Joan Miro and Andre Masson started producing artwork using automatism
method just like the poets does. Not long after that, film started to be a part of the surrealism
movement which also brings out more talented artist to the group like Salvador Dali. And
Picasso, even though Picasso wasnt necessarily become a part of the group, he gave the
permission for some of his pieces to be reproduced by surrealist artists.
But more heads means more opinions and different principles. In Bretons second manifesto, he
denounced some names which he believed wasnt live up to the groups principles and ideology.
Some names that was said to be failing the groups protocols includes Andre Masson, Antonin
Artaud, Michel Leiris, Roger Vitrac, and some more. So basically theres 2 surrealist group with
different ideology. The second groups artwork was appear offenssive according to Breton. As
Breton was more about combining 2 incompitable images as one. Georges Bataille is the known
leading role of the second group whose been seperating themselves from the first group since
before Breton denounced them. In 1930 they even published A Corpse in a form of a pamphlet,
Bretons picture as a martyred Christ. It was a direct attack on Breton after he denounced them.
Not just to denounce some names, Bretons second manifesto also revealed that the
philosophical believe on surrealism take a little turning point. Before, the movement was all

about whats inside the mind, the uncounscious, as of now, it is about the interaction between
the councious and the uncounscious. The combination between reality and dreams.
An example of this method is this philosophical novel my cousin sent me last year, the book
titled Sophies World its about a teenage girl getting philosphy lessons by a stranger through
mail. Throughout the lesson, strange things started to happen to her, not a horror kind of
strange though, rather stuff from her dreams started to actually appear in her room, a mail for
someone else being sent for her. The srangest one though is near the end of the book and me
having to spoil it to get the idea across, thus aparently Sophie is actually just a book character,
meaning that the book is telling us that Sophie is just a charachter in the book that a father
wants to give to his daughter for her birthday, also near the end Sophie and her philosophy
teacher got out of the book to see the real world out of the book. (Gaarder 1994) And if you
havent read it, you should. On that note, mainly the book was telling us to question everything,
to explore, not to limit ourselves. Limitation is there only when we put it there. And surrealism
is about exploring the thoughts we usually think we are limited for being able to do so.
Another book that is interesting is actually from Sir Ardi, its the material for final assignment
for his class this term, its called The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. The story is about Gregor
Samsa who suddnely wakes up in the morning as a monstrous verminous bug literally he
phisically turned into a bug, How more surreal can it be? Just in the first page of the first
paragraph, thats what it revealed and the whole book is basically about how the family react to
it and live with it until eventually he dies, as the family hoped for. Parable like this can mean
anything, such as a sickness or being gay which is a big issue at the moment here. However, we
are not gonna get in too deep on that aspect, cause its about the surrealism of it all. (Kafka
1999)
Other than books, poetries, and visual art surrealism inspire various aspects such as tv, movies,
fashion, buildings, and interior design, it is a visualization of dream, and the interaction between
conscious and unconscious even politic aspects can be inspired by surrealism aparently which
covered by (Hopkins 2004) in his book, Dada and Surrealism; a very short introduction.
Back on history, it is not fairly clear of when the movement is considered over, but in 1966
Andre Breton died, supossedy that could be a turning point or rather the movement might start
to crumble, but also in 1969 the first official surrealist group which Breton formed was
dissolved. But then again surrealist is a group of people as to serrealism is an ism meaning its
an ideology, a way of thinking, way of life, a way of interpretation of things, anything. Which
leads me to believe that it is not a kind of movement that dies, it is growing until this very day,
and we certainly have Breton to thank.

Quotes on Surrealism
By some of the surrealist:
Beloved imagination, what I most like in you your unsparing quality
Andr Breton
Knowing how to look is a way of inventing.
Salvador Dali
Art is the fatal net which catches these strange moments on the wing like mysterious
butterflies, fleeing the innocence and distraction of common men.
Giorgio de Chirico

Collage is the noble conquest of the irrational, the coupling of two realities, irreconcilable in
appearance, upon a plane which apparently does not suit them.
Max Ernst
Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.
Rene Magritte
The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness.
Joan Mir
Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our
vision.
Salvador Dali
Surrealism had a great effect on me because then I realized that the imagery in my mind
wasnt insanity. Surrealism to me is reality.
John Lennon
Creativity is that marvelous capacity to grasp mutually distinct realities and draw a spark
from their juxtaposition.
Max Ernst

The interesting thing about the unconsciousness is probably that it is vary from one person to
another. Everybody has their own interpretation of things, surrealism artworks can have a
parable in it, thus it wont be just a random bizarre things being put together but it has a deep
explanation behind it, not just for the artist who created it but also for all who seen it and can
feel what it is trying to tell. And the thing about parable is that, different people can receive a
different feeling from it, depend on what each person understands or have gone through. With
that being said, it should be interesting to know some different opinions from different people
and my own interpretation would be: It can be anything and turned into anything,

its the magical world of thoughts and its realistically unrealistic.

Get highSurrealism is a high imagination and hallucination


thats created when consuming drugs or when being in a dream
world when time is not present in life. Where now is the future
and the future is now where the fishes fly and the birds swim.
--Ms Claudia, UIC Design lecturer. (C. Latijan 2016, pers. comm., 7 Sep.)

Kind of art that nobody sees in reality, only in your mind, and
you turned it into reality

--Mayang Tathya, Layouter/Gaphic Designer (M. Tathya 2016, pers. comm., 7 Sep.).

Takes so much effort and a huge amount of imagination. I like it


because its not something one can easily do they need so deep
inspiration a wild imagination. When I look at one and trying to
think deep it helps me get inspired too. Yeah its awesome to
make an artwork like that it shows the massive creativity one can
have.
--Shayma Fais Alas, Consular Secretary at Yemen Embassy. (S. Alas 2016, pers.
comm., 8 Sep).

Express our untold mind


--Lauren Sugianto, UIC Design Student. (L. Sugianto 2016, pers. comm., 8 Sep).

From several of these interview being conducted by me through face-to-face and


personal chats, we can see that they are all have a different interpretation but basically
explaining the same thing, It is all about the beauty of which we all have it real inside
our mind just as much as it is not real outside of it. And surrealism is how we make the
supposedly unreal to appear just real enough, how we can make the unrealistic to be as
real as it is inside our own minds.

List of References
Aspley, K. 2010, Historical dictionary of surrealism, Road, Plymouth PL67PY, United
Kingdom.Scarecrow Press, Estover
Gaarder, J. Translated by Moller, P. 1994, Sophies world, Berkley edn, Farrar, Straus

and Giroux, Inc., New York.


Hopkins, D. 2004, Dada and Surrealism a very short introduction, Oxford University,
New York.

Kafka, F. translated by Johnmston I. 1999, The metamorphosis, Malaspina University College


Nanaimo, BC.
Meggs, P.B. 1998, a history of graphic design, 3rd edn, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Canada.First
Surrealist Manifesto