Surrealism Characteristics

  • Automatic writing – write whatever comes to your mind without stopping or structuring your thoughts. eg:

    Tristan Tzara, “Volt” (1915)

    The inclined towers the oblique skies
    The cars descending into the void of roads
    The creatures along the country lanes
    Branches covered with hospitable virtues
    With leaf-shaped birds at their crowns
    You walk but another walks in your footsteps
    Distilling her spite through fragments of memory and math
    Enveloped by a robe almost mute the clotted sound of capitals

    The seething city dense both with proud cries and lights
    Overflows the saucepan of its eyelids
    Tears flow away in streams of wretched population
    Over the sterile plain towards the smooth flesh the lava
    Of shadowy mountains the apocalyptic temptations
    Lost in the landscape of a memory and a darkened rose
    I roam the narrow streets around you
    While you too roam different wider streets
    Round something other

  • Juxtaposition – put together crazy things that we wouldn’t normally associate with one another.

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  • Association – the connections that we make between different thoughts, ideas, or images.

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  • Irrational – The Surrealists thought that Western society placed too much emphasis on rationality. The problem with rationality, according to them, is that there is a whole realm of experience that exists outside of the rational mind. After all, we often behave in irrational ways, don’t we? The Surrealists felt that the irrational is a big part of our identity as human beings, and it’s also a big part of how we understand and see the world.

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  • The unconscious – the Surrealists were interested in digging beneath the layers of our conscious experience just as they were interested in digging beneath the layers of our rational experience. They believed that the unconscious mind is central to our identity. In order to truly understand who we are, we need to understand what’s going on in that dark place in our mind.

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  •  Dream and Fantasy – Dreams and fantasies are often the means through which our unconscious selves, and our irrational drives, find expression.

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  • Revolution – According to the Surrealists, a society that was capable of so much destruction was definitely corrupted. And so part of their mission was to revolutionise society. They felt that Surrealist art, was capable of giving people new perspectives both on themselves and on their society. Surrealist art was a way to escape the old, corrupted ways of thought (which had led to so much dang destruction) and to enter new ways of thought: ways of thought that would be more productive, rather than destructive. The Surrealists also felt that the social, cultural, political, and economic frameworks that had led to the war had to be challenged.

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pin board of Surrealism inspiration:


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