'Lobster Telephone' by Salvador Dall
THE SYMBOLIST movement was a precursor to Surrealism, Art Noveau and Les Nabis. Surrealism like Symbolism mined the dream world and is marked by a fantastic visual style where the twisty corridors of the mind are used as the template. The Surrealist Movement flourished between the two World Wars in Europe.
Anarchy and chaos
Nothing comes from nothing as Julie Andrews wisely observed in The Sound of Music so Surrealism grew out of the anarchy of the Dada Movement and worked as a perfect counterpoint to the formalistic Cubist movement. At the end of World War I, Tristan Tzara started the Dada movement, which defined itself as Anti-Art and deliberately defied reason. Tzara felt a society that created war had no right to beauty or art.
The founder of Surrealism, Andre Breton, was a French doctor who served in the trenches during WWI. Originally a Dadaist, Breton started the movement in 1924 with an emphasis not on Dadaist negation but on positive expression.
Breton wrote three manifestos of Surrealism (1924, 1930 and 1934) where he described Surrealism "as a means of reuniting conscious and unconscious realms of experience so completely that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world in an absolute reality, a surreality."
Like in Symbolism, the works of Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung played an important role with Surrealists. Salvador Dali was one of the most important artists of the Surrealist movement with his emphasis on freezing dreams on canvas. Pablo Picasso stood at the opposing end of the spectrum - rejecting the craft and revelling in the primitive as a basis for art. Two masters, two opposing theories and a century of great art!
Send this article to Friends by