Surrealism

These artists explored subconscious thought in order to bypass restrictions placed on people by social convention.

1922 - 1939

Beginner's guide

Influenced by French psychology and the work of Sigmund Freud, the Surrealists experimented with practices that allowed them to explore subconscious thought and identity and bypass restrictions placed on people by social convention.

videos + essays

We're adding new content all the time!

A brief guide to Egyptian Surrealism
A brief guide to Egyptian Surrealism

In 1938, a group of 37 artists, writers and thinkers in Cairo signed a manifesto titled ‘Long Live Degenerate Art’. This marked the start of the group known as ‘Art and Liberty’, and the birth of a distinctly Egyptian style of Surrealism.

Rosa Rolanda, <em>Self-Portrait</em>
Rosa Rolanda, Self-Portrait

Rolanda, a close friend of Frida Kahlo, explores her Mexican identity in the 1930s with surrealism and a volcano

Meret Oppenheim, <em>Object</em> (Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon)
Meret Oppenheim, Object (Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon)

This furry tea service was a touchstone for Surrealism, but the artist was a victim of her own success.

Surrealist Techniques: Collage
Surrealist Techniques: Collage

The Surrealists saw collage as a means to enact what they considered to be the fundamental poetic activity of the unconscious mind.

Surrealist Photography
Surrealist Photography

Photographs were used by the Surrealists to call into question the nature of reality.

Surrealist Exhibitions
Surrealist Exhibitions

Surrealist exhibitions broke down conventional distinctions between art and non-art.

Surrealist Techniques: Subversive Realism
Surrealist Techniques: Subversive Realism

Everything is, in the end, a question of representation (in words or images) in which we choose to believe, or not.

Surrealism and Women
Surrealism and Women

Surrealism both infantilized and empowered women.

Surrealist Techniques: Automatism
Surrealist Techniques: Automatism

Automatism was a group of techniques used by the Surrealists to facilitate the direct and uncontrolled outpouring of unconscious thought.

Surrealism and Psychoanalysis
Surrealism and Psychoanalysis

The Surrealists were interested in the unconscious as a creative source.

Surrealism: Origins and Precursors
Surrealism: Origins and Precursors

The goal of Surrealist writings and art was to “ruin” the logical, practical, and moral reasoning that structures human understanding of reality.

The Case for Surrealism
The Case for Surrealism

Surrealism may be familiar from dorm room posters, but what do you really know about this movement?

Selected Contributors