Surrealism (from French surrealisme – literally over realism) is a trend in modern bourgeois art, which originated in the early 20s in France. As a characteristic expression of the crisis of capitalist society. Surrealism finds its philosophical foundations in Freud’s subjective idealistic theory. The contradictions that tear apart the bourgeois system, the feelings of horror before the real world, generated by these contradictions among some surrealist painters who have broken away from the people, are embodied by the latter in images that cause aversion to reality, to life. Hence the special interest of the surrealists in the reproduction of nightmares, hallucinations, pathological conditions. Created on the basis of the “principles” of surrealism, the paintings of Salvador Dali are filled with horrors, nightmares, and pessimism.
Its creators – young artists, poets saw surrealism as a way of knowing the subconscious, the supernatural. By the definition of Andre Breton, the founder and ideologist of this trend, surrealism is “pure psychic automatism intended to express, either orally or in writing or in another way, the real functioning of thought. The dictation of thought is beyond any control by the mind, beyond any aesthetic or moral considerations. ” In his Manifesto of Surrealism, Breton named the following basic techniques of new art: automatism, the use of so-called deceptions and dream images.
It was not just a new style in art and literature that was created, but, first of all, there was a desire to remake the world and change life. The surrealists were convinced that the unconscious and unreasonable principle embodies the highest truth that must be affirmed on earth.
In the period between 1910 and 1920 – in the historically saturated, crucial and tragic time – in art events occur, predicting the development of surrealism. It is necessary to mention such a name as George de Chirico – the author of strange proto-surrealistic fantasies.
And yet, more directly and strongly defined the further so-called Dadaism, which did not accidentally figure alongside surrealism in the title of the 1936 New York exhibition of the final. Dadaism, or the art of Dada, is a daring, outrageous “anti-creativity” that arose in an atmosphere of horror and disappointment of artists in the face of disaster — world war, European revolutions, and, as it seemed, the very principles of European civilization. Circles, groups, exhibitions, magazines, public actions of Dadaists confuse the peace of peaceful Switzerland as early as 1916, and since 1918 this wave has swept Austria, France and Germany.
Surrealists owe a great deal to this bohemian anarchism, which chose for itself the name of either the child’s vocabulary, or the delirious mumbling of the sick, or the savage’s shamanistic spell: Dada. Dadaism, in principle, rejected any positive aesthetic program and offered “anti-aesthetics.” Artists from different directions came to him – expressionists, cubists, abstractionists and others. One of the first steps of surrealism was also a focus on the purely passive role of the author. To get rid of “mind control”, purely mechanical methods of “hunting for randomness” were used (for example, they placed rough surfaces under a sheet of paper and rubbed paper with dry paints, while receiving fantastic configurations resembling thickets of fantastic forest – the technique of “fretting”). Leading masters could not be satisfied with such primitive methods. They sought and internal, personal irrationality, off the mind at the level of mental life. For this, peculiar forms of visual self-hypnosis were practiced. The transition from “mechanical” methods to “mental” (or psychoanalytic) gradually captured all the leading masters of surrealism.
A kind of “training” were the meeting of the surrealists, which they called the term sommeils – which means “dreams in reality.” During their “dreams in reality” they played. They were interested in random and unconscious semantic combinations that arise in the course of games like “Burime”: they in turn composed a phrase, not knowing anything about the parts written by other participants in the game. So once was born the phrase “an exquisite corpse will drink young wine.” The goal of these games was to practice the turning off of consciousness and logical connections. Thus, deep, subconscious chaotic forces were called out from the abyss.