Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the mid-1920s. Andre Breton, a French writer and poet, led the movement.
Breton served in a neurological hospital during World War I, where he used the psychoanalytic methods of Sigmund Freud. Back in Paris after the war, he involved himself in the Dada activities, experimenting with automatic writing, which is writing without censoring thoughts, and also writing accounts of dreams.
Breton came to believe that automatism was a much better tactic for societal change than the Dada attack on prevailing values.
Surrealism was heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud’s work with free association, dream analysis and the hidden unconscious. Breton used this along with Dada’s anti rational anti art approach to found Surrealism.
Surrealism is a revolutionary cultural practice by which one proposes to express the actual functioning of thought, not influenced by any aesthetic or moral concern.
In 1924 Andre Breton wrote the first Surrealist Manifesto, which defines the purposes of the group and includes citations of the influences on Surrealism and discussion of Surrealist automatism.
In the manifesto of 1924 Breton writes about how he believes the freedom of imagination has been suppressed under the pretence of civilisation and progress and that any kind of search for truth that does not conform to accepted practices is forbidden. He underlines his dislike for the realistic attitude, inspired by positivism, as he sees it as hostile to any intellectual or moral advancement.
Due to discoveries made by Freud, he believes that the imagination is perhaps on the point of reasserting itself.
He questions where and how you draw the line between madness and freely using imagination.
He also questions whether dreams are inferior to moments of reality.
Breton reflects on this in the manifesto. He goes into much detail about the state of dreams and how everything feels so natural and satisfying while dreaming.
He believes ‘in...