Surrealism as a Challenge to Realism

Traditionally, it is believed that the birth of surrealism was due to the French group of Andre Breton. Provocatively announcing themselves, they were actively engaged in political and creative activities until the middle of the last century. Surrealism died with the death of Andre Breton in 1966. This generally accepted point of view shows that surrealism embodied a particular society led by a leader and that with the death of Breton, the surrealist society collapsed and super realism ceased to exist. Only its weak manifestations in works of various artistic movements and individual creative individuals remained and provoked the debate on whether surrealism died or not. Surrealism, or super realism, is something transcendent, located somewhere in the deepest layers of the unconscious of each individual. The beginning of creative, religious, and the scientific crisis of the 20th century served as the ideal environment for the emergence of revolutionary surrealism.

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Features of Surrealistic Creativity

As a source of inspiration for their works, surrealists tried to use the creative energy, lurking in the realm of the subconscious. According to the theory of psychoanalysis, we can observe the manifestation of this energy in various semi-conscious mental states, starting with painful delirium and hypnotic trance and ending with involuntary automatism of everyday life. The sleep with its gamut of dreams, hallucinations, visions on the verge of revelation and oblivion, sudden insights, actions performed purely mechanically, like pictures created on the fields of notebooks – all these phenomena are frequent companions of sensitive natures, such as artists, poets, and writers. It is not surprising that absurdity, fantasy, paradoxicality, eclecticism, and plasticity of images became the distinguishing feature of surrealism.

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The Differences between Surreal and Realistic Ideas

Surrealists seek to release the essence of a person, suppressed by reality. This art is designed to master your subconscious. Breton said that there is nowhere to run from oppressive reality, exceptions are childhood, sleep, and fantasy. It is also worth noting that art was not the only field of activity of the Surrealists since they wanted to change their lives and society radically.

The surrealists embodied in their works the ideas of rebellion and conflicting with typical bourgeois values. Their pictures are eloquent testimony that the visible material world is far from the only reality accessible to a human; it is illusory and limited in its possibilities. In contrast to it, the inner world of a person has no limits; it is plastic and organic. It can be really bright and unpredictable. One of the main and most interesting properties of the surrealist movement was dualism. It was expressed in the biased attitude of the surrealists to every aspect of their activities.

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The destruction of the boundaries of the material world often pushed the surrealist artists to go beyond the limits of the ethically permitted canons. Many of them were convinced that the subconscious should express itself without asking questions of moral values. Guided by rebellious ideas or wanting to play around the variability of material images and the foci of human perception, the surrealists reached the point of outright keen and categorically repulsive eclecticism.

Apr 15, 2019 in Academic Writing


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