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Surrealism

About this term

Source: Oxford University Press

International intellectual movement, which was centred mainly in Paris and occupied with the problems of thought and expression in all their forms. The Surrealists perceived a deep crisis in Western culture and responded with a revision of values at every level, inspired by the psychoanalytical discoveries of Freud and the political ideology of Marxism. In both poetry and the visual arts this revision was undertaken through the development of unconventional techniques, of which Automatism was paramount. The Parisian poets who formulated Surrealist theory and orientation were officially identified by André Breton’s Manifeste du surréalisme (1924), the essay ‘Une Vague de rêves’ (October 1924) by louis Aragon and the periodical La Révolution surréaliste, published two months later. Under Breton’s guidance, the movement remained potent up to World War II, surviving until his death in 1966 (see Breton, André). Of the original members, the core had participated in Parisian Dada and contributed to the periodical Littérature (1919–24), edited by Breton, Aragon and Philippe Soupault. They included the poets paul Eluard, Benjamin Péret, René Crevel, Robert Desnos, Jacques Baron, Max Morise, Marcel Noll, Pierre Naville, Roger Vitrac, Simone Breton and Gala Eluard, and the artists Max Ernst, Man Ray, Hans Arp and Georges Malkine (1901–69). They were joined by the writers Michel Leiris, Georges Limbour, antonin Artaud and Raymond Queneau, and the artists André Masson and Joan Miró, all of whom had gathered at 45 Rue Blomet during 1922–4. A third group, centred on 54 Rue du Château, included the writers Marcel Duhamel and Jacques Prévert and the painter Yves Tanguy.

Dawn Ades
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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