What is surrealism? Well, there isn’t a simple definition. Briefly, the surrealist works will have elements of surprise with unexpected and very illogical things together. Andre’ Breton, the founder of surrealism called is “pure psychic automatism in it’s pure state”. He went on to write the Manifesto of Surrealism.
The Surrealists were interested in children’s art, folk art, and outsider art. They were also very interested in the insane. They were tired of trivial every day living, they loved exploring dreams, magic and the subconscious. In fact, the movement really began with literary men exploring automatic writing.
They loved to play games, one of which was called “exquisite corpses”. This was a verbal game where three or more people were assigned part of a sentence, usually the subject, verb, a predicate and so forth, which was unknown to the rest of the group. The game got it’s name from the first sentence produced in this method “The exquistie/corpse/shall drink/the bubbling wine”. The visual artists did much the same game by drawing and folding the paper so the next artist could not see what was drawn already. The Surrealists loved chance, and as Breton said “they stood for something that couldn’t possibly be the work of a single brain.”
This is a very simplified version of what surrealism is – there have been tomes and tomes written about it. Not wanting to bore you, I thought I’d just share some examples of surrealist art. From left to right, the artists are: Valdimir Kush, George De Chirico, Joan Miro, Yves Tanguy, Rene’ Magritte, and Salvador Dali.