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What Was Surrealism and Where and Why Did it Originate?

This is the dictionary meaning for Surrealism.

Dictionary: “Surrealism, noun. Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.”

Surrealism is well known for its visual artworks and writings. Surrealism is a cultural movement and it began in the 1920’s. The artworks of Surrealism include unexpected positions of the objects in the artwork and surprise. Dada was another art movement that was going on during the First World War, and surrealism developed out of this.

The centre of this movement was in Paris. Surrealism spread around the world from the 1920’s onwards, and it influenced many forms of art, such as film, visual art, and music. It even influenced literature and philosophy.

The leader of the movement was Andre Breton, and he believed that surrealism was a revolutionary movement. Andre Breton trained in psychiatry and medicine. He worked in a neurological hospital and treated patients who had suffered from shell-shock. He used Sigmund Freud’s ideas to help the people suffering from shell shock. When he went back to Paris, he became involved with Dada.

Andre Breton began writing a journal along with two other writers, Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault. The journal was called Litterature. They wrote the articles in the journal by using automatic writing, which was writing exactly what you were thinking, without leaving anything out. They attracted a lot of writers and artists with their writing, and they thought that automatism was a better way to change society than Dada’s attacks on current values.

The surrealists believed that surrealism would promote the idea that normal ideas are also very important, but those ideas must be open to imagination. Sigmund Freud was also important because he worked with dream analysis, unconsciousness and free association and this helped the surrealists in their cause to free the imagination.

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