Surrealist Manifesto (1924), defined surrealism as:
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.
XaW Files: Beyond Humanity, 21st Century Surreal Autonomy
The above is from the Tate Gallery website, and so is this:
‘Freud’s ideas strongly influenced French poet André Breton who launched the surrealist movement in 1924 with the publication of the Manifesto of Surrealism. In the manifesto, Breton defined surrealism as
‘Pure psychic automatism … the dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason and outside all moral or aesthetic concerns’.
Breton and others produced the earliest examples of automatism in their automatic writings, aiming to write as rapidly as possible without intervening consciously to guide the hand.
Surrealist collage, putting together images clipped from magazines, product catalogues, book illustrations and other sources, was invented by Max Ernst, and was the first form of automatism in visual art.’
Freud, and the most famous surreal painter, Salvador Dali, are featured in XaW Files, but I only have a basic general knowledge of both, as I do of surrealist art. I didn’t know the writing I mostly did for XaW Files, automatism fuelled by coffee, which I termed coffilosophy linking it to my Doctor of Philosophy status, was in line with surrealism as defined by Breton; his name rings a bell at most, but I didn’t know anything about him.
I’d like to write more, but I know you can get too much of a self-proclaimed genius thing (partly self-parody comedy, playing on too much of a good thing), so I’ll leave you with a new greenYgrey3 collage of 20th century surreal art on the Tate gallery website, immaterialised here into automatic Surreal Art for the 21st century: (I had a new automatic idea while searching for the images, creating a new form of surrealism 21c Immaterialism: can you guess what it is? Explained below the new collage)
The images are:
Frida Kahlo: The Love-Embrace of the Universe, 1949
Leonora Carrington: The Pomps of the Subsoil, 1947
Max Ernst: I Saluted at Six Paces Commandant Lefebvre des des Noëttes (Poem object), 1942
They were the first three greenYgrey relevant images I found. At first I thought of just doing a horizontal triptych greenYgrey3 as usual, but then, perhaps unconsciously inspired by reading about pyramids in Graham Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods (as well as shamanic receivers of information from other dimensions of reality), I thought this structure suited the collage, with Ernst one of those who provided the foundation for other artists in the surrealist movement (the image also features the name Jack, with Kerouac my main writing inspiration, although he wasn’t published at the time, so it was just a coincidence).
Moreover, the images seem to suit the genre and tell a story, rising from modern civilisation to a higher natural dream state through the next two images above the base layer. I hope you enjoy it, and think that it was worth learning, as I did.
P.S. I only noticed the upper two images were chronological from the base; 1942 – 1947 – 1949; after publishing it. It wouldn’t have made much difference, as I chose them thematically, but it’s a nice extra addition.
Available to buy or borrow on Amazon and some great big bookshops.