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"Everything leads us to believe that there exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imaginary, past and present, the communicable and the incommunicable, the high and the low, cease to be perceived as contradictions..." - André Breton:
1. A 20th-century literary and artistic movement that attempts to express the workings of the subconscious and is characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject matter.
2. Literature or art produced in this style.
[French surréalisme : sur-, beyond (from Old French). See SUR- + réalisme, realism (from réalité, reality, from Medieval Latin reâlitâs, from reâlis, real). See REAL1.]
- surre´alist noun
The simplest surrealist gesture consists in going
out into the street, gun in hand, and taking pot shots at the crowd!
Surrealist Slogan from the 1920s. Quoted by Luis Buñuel in: _My Last Sigh_, ch. 10 (1983). The slogan was revived in Paris in 1968, during the May uprising.
surrealism (se-rê´e-lîz´em), literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism, dedicated to expressing the imagination as revealed in DREAMS, free of the conscious control of reason and convention. Founded (1924) in Paris by André BRETON with his Manifesto of Surrealism, it can be traced back to French poets such as Arthur RIMBAUD, Charles BAUDELAIRE, and Guillaume APOLLINAIRE and to the Italian painter Giorgio de CHIRICO. In literature, surrealism was confined almost exclusively to France, and was based on the associations and implications of words. Its adherents included Paul Éluard and Jean COCTEAU, famous for his surrealist films. In art the movement was dominant in the 1920s and 30s. Salvador DALI and Yves TANGUY used dream-inspired symbols such as melting clocks. Max ERNST and René MAGRITTE used incongruous elements realistically painted. These "verists" differed from "absolute" surrealists, such as Joan MIRÓ, who used images from the subconscious.
The animating purpose of Dada
and Surrealism was to smash all accepted values and expectations;
to jolt perception awake from robotic sleep and
into seeing the world in a new, fresh way that is nonlinear and multidimensional.
Picasso's _Man with a Violin_ depicts an ordinary scene, but from all
sides and angles at once. In Marcel Duchamp's
_Nude Descending A Staircase, No.2_, we see what the title descibes, but
from a perspective of nonlinear time. The Surrealists
investigated dreams and the unconscious, automatic art and writing, the
art of "primitive" peoples and the art of children and schizophrenics.
They were on a quest for magickal perception,
a shaman's view of the world.
The surrealist movement was
launched in 1923 - the year James Joyce,
after making cryptic notes for several months, finally wrote the first
three-page fragment of _Finnegan's Wake_, and the year Hitler was
initiated in the Thule Society, and occult secret society with a
paranoid dread of all other occult secret societies, which it claimed
were run by Jews and Freemasons -
anyway, that year, the First Surrealist Manifesto promised or
threatened "total transformation of mind and all that resembles
it." Among the founders was Raymond Roussel, former associate
of Aleister Crowley and Father Sauniere
in the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, and among the
later recruits was Jean Cocteau, who eventually became 23rd
Grand Master of the Priory of Sion.
- Robert Anton Wilson - _Coincidance_ in _Semiotext[e] USA_
"Like surrealism, occultism tries to break the domination of rational philosophy and logic, stressed by Descartes. Occultism is based on the belief in a higher reality of certain forms of association through the cabbala, faith in the power of dream- and trance-images, and in the stream of words uncensored by the intellect."
- P. R. Koenig, "Ecstatic Creation of Culture"
"We need to cultivate a sense of mystery. The
mystery is not only in the Other; it is in us. This reverberates
again with the idea that we become what we behold. The nature of
history is suddenly transforming in the postquantum
physics, postmodern phase; this was not expected. The
nineteenth century, the early twentieth century - they didn't realize
this was what they were pointed into. Although some few people,
the 'Pataphysicians, the surrealists, saw what was coming. But now
here we are."
- Terence McKenna - _The Archaic Revival_
"Electrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrronic communicationnnnnnnnnnnnn!" - Salvador Dali
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