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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.
literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism, dedicated to expressing
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,
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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