Surrealism

1920

International intellectual movement, which was centred mainly in Paris and occupied with the problems of thought and expression in all their forms. The Surrealists perceived a deep crisis in Western culture and responded with a revision of values at every level, inspired by the psychoanalytical discoveries of Freud and the political ideology of Marxism. In both poetry and the visual arts this revision was undertaken through the development of unconventional techniques, of which Automatism was paramount. The Parisian poets who formulated Surrealist theory and orientation were officially identified by André Breton’s Manifeste du surréalisme (1924), the essay ‘Une Vague de rêves’ (October 1924) by Louis Aragon and the periodical La Révolution surréaliste, published two months later. Under Breton’s guidance, the movement remained potent up to World War II, surviving until his death in 1966.
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© Grove Art / OUP

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