Surrealism (from the French surrealisme – literally super-realism) is a trend in contemporary bourgeois art that originated in France in the early 1920s. Being a characteristic expression of the crisis of capitalist society. Surrealism finds its philosophical foundations in the subjective-idealistic theory of Freud. The contradictions tearing apart the bourgeois system, the feelings of horror in front of the real world, generated by these contradictions among some surrealist artists detached from the people, are embodied by the latter in images that cause an aversion to reality, to life. Hence the special interest of the surrealists in reproducing 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 considered surrealism as a way of knowing the subconscious, supernatural. According to the definition of the founder and ideologist of this trend, Andre Breton, surrealism is “pure psychic automatism, with the goal of expressing, either verbally, in writing, or in any other way, the real functioning of thought. The dictation of thought is beyond any control on the part of the mind, outside of any aesthetic or moral considerations. ” In his “Manifesto of Surrealism” Breton called the following basic techniques of new art: automatism, the use of so-called tricks and dream images.
It was not just a new style in art and literature that was created, but, first of all, a desire to remake the world and change life was manifested. Surrealists were convinced that the unconscious and unreasonable beginning personifies the highest truth that must be affirmed on earth.
Between 1910 and 1920 – in a historically saturated, crucial and tragic time – events occur in art that predicted the development of surrealism. It is necessary to mention such a name as George de Chirico – the author of strange protosurrealistic fantasies.
Nevertheless, the so-called Dadaism, which incidentally appeared alongside surrealism in the title of the final New York exhibition of 1936, more directly and strongly determined the future. Dadaism, or the art of Dada, is a daring, shocking “anti-creation” that arose in an atmosphere of horror and frustration of artists in the face of catastrophe – World War II, European revolutions and, as it seemed, the very principles of European civilization. Mugs, groups, exhibitions, magazines, public events of the Dadaists confuse the peace of peaceful Switzerland already in 1916, and since 1918 this wave has swept across Austria, France and Germany.
Surrealists owe much to this bohemian anarchism, which chose a name from either a child’s vocabulary, or a delusional murmur of a sick person, or a savage spell of the savage: “Dada”. Dada, in principle, rejected any positive aesthetic program and proposed “anti-aesthetics.” Artists of different directions came to him – expressionists, cubists, abstract artists and others. One of the first steps of surrealism was also the focus on the purely passive role of the author. To get rid of the “mind control”, purely mechanical methods of “hunting for chance” were used (for example, rough surfaces were placed under a sheet of paper and rubbed with paper with dry colors, while obtaining fantastic configurations resembling thickets of a fantastic forest – the “frotting” technique). Leading masters could not be satisfied with such primitive methods. They also sought an internal, personal irrationality, a disconnection of 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” was a collection of surrealists, which they called the term sommeils – which means “waking dreams.” During their “waking dreams” they played. They were interested in random and unconscious semantic combinations that arise during games like “burime”: they took turns making up a phrase, not knowing anything about the parts written by other participants in the game. So once the phrase was born, “an exquisite corpse will drink young wine.” The purpose of these games was to train the disconnection of consciousness and logical connections. Thus, deep subconscious chaotic forces were called from the abyss.