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

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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?

Surrealism, an introduction
Surrealism, an introduction

Identifying as agents of change, the Surrealists were interested in Freudian psychology and social revolution.

Salvador Dalí, <em>The Persistence of Memory</em>
Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory

Dalí wages war on the rational in this naturalistic landscape populated by strange objects.

Salvador Dalí, <em>Metamorphosis of Narcissus</em>
Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus

Dalí’s forms are mirrored and doubled in this disconcerting painting, made in a state of “paranoiac critical activity.”

Selected Contributors