Surrealism is Art through the doors of wild imagination

A lonely tree on a desert, with its leaves stripped off and a clock hanging over it; the leaves of the tree scattered all over the sky as stars.


Has your sleep ever been bombarded by a strange dream that you sit up the whole day reminiscing about in your visceral voice?


Though our dreams have always been an easy route to alternate realities, with a ray of sunshine spreading across the room, the photocopies of our dream could get overexposed, resulting in a complete void. In spite of evading all sense of logic, it is believed that these fading fragments are an unadulterated reflection of our subconscious. With that being said, I can’t think of a better start to delve into the world of Surrealism.


The origin of Surrealism

So, what is Surrealism in the true sense?


Simply put, Surrealism is the depiction of unchained thoughts from the subconscious. The concept of Surrealism has always existed in one way or the other through dreams and psychoanalysis findings that has proved the human urge to explore artistic illustrations oozing out of the deep dungeons of the mind.


Though artists like Bosch from the 15th century had attempted surrealism art, the deliberate thought of creating something strange contradicted the very notion that propagated Surrealism. This is why this process is also called automatism where thoughts from the bottom are allowed to flow automatically without any restrictions.


However, only in 1917 did Guilliame Apollinairex, a French writer and critic coin the term “surreal” for the first time. Though many perceived Surrealism to be a style of art initially, its wild nature evoked an unbelievable transformation leading to the rise of a literary and philosophical crusade in the early 20th century.


While you wonder what really fuelled the movement of Surrealism, it is the outburst of the irrational mind that was enslaved by traditional reality and the element of reasoning over a long period of time.


Making of a cult movement

While the presence of surrealism was gradually gaining limelight with abstract prose and poetry, it transcended into a full-fledged movement when French poet Andre Breton changed the dynamics of surrealism by publishing the “Manifestation of Surrealism” in 1924.  This manifestation drew people from all nooks and corners to view Surrealism as a distinct entity that was mysterious yet profound.


In fact, the very movement was largely influenced by the Sigmund theories on psychoanalysis that stated a higher form of truth is only vested with the subconscious. Moving forward, the movement took its giant stride in 1925 when the visual masterpieces of eminent artists and revolutionaries like Salvador DalíMax ErnstRené Magritte, Giorgio de Chirico, Pablo Picasso and Francis Picabia became a prominent part of the revolution.


From the late 1920s to the next decade, the movement saw itself propagating its vision to all of Europe and even to parts of America, producing several reputed poets and artists whose contribution to Surrealism remains a benchmark even today. Furthermore, the WW2 was a defining chronicle in the Surrealism movement as most revolutionaries erupted in protest against the capitalist society.


When the celebrated rationalism and individualism led to horrific destruction and loss of lives, the eccentric movement was utilized to symbolize the pain and misery through incendiary imageries, coming from deeply embedded internal thoughts.


An ocean of perspectives and elements

Surrealism and the art associated with it is all about utmost creative freedom and hence the techniques never followed any particular procedure. With time, visual artists took the centre stage, creating games, juxtapositions, spontaneous automatism and much more that challenged all premeditated conceptions.


The techniques employed were experimental, odd, and humorous sometimes. As the movement took shape, diverse groups followed the Dada tradition by introducing satire in the transformation of well-known objects into uncustomary artwork. Some groups made use of efficient techniques like frottage and grattage to deliver beautiful paintings.    


The exploration of Surrealistic art form created two emerging trends among the artists - Figurative and Abstract. Figurative artwork was famous in the initial years where people used different shapes to depict hallucinatory images of our surroundings. Abstract artwork started to gain momentum when more artists romanticized unrecognizable paintings that were unprecedented and very symbolic.


Celebrated artists like Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, Joan Miro and much more employed several mediums and elements to etch the impressions of their subconscious mind and also discover their style of symbolism. Dali was quite popular for his dream-like interpretation of life using the themes of death and decay.


In fact, his infamous artwork, “The persistence of Memory” has stood the test of time inspiring modern contemporary artists. Similarly, Rene’s work always constituted deceiving and illusionary images that handled a subtle mystery. 


Notably, surreal artists never confined their space of work to just paintings and even extended to a wide body of mediums like film, sculpture, photography, and others to broadcast their vision and philosophy.


The world of surrealism today

The Surrealism movement is still alive and kicking, marking its deep influence on culture, literature, art and not to forget, even politics.


The main achievement of Surrealism is that it has prompted people to look at art from a subconscious level, digging into the deep layers for an exciting revelation.


The surrealism of today has made it easy for all the artists to exercise their creative freedom without any boundaries or barriers to suppress their artistic intellectual.


With new techniques being adopted in the digital age, photo manipulation is a rage among the modern surrealist artists. The use of three-dimensional images and animation for rearrangement has elevated the level of Surrealism imagery taking it close to a dream-like spectacle.


By and large, modern surreal artists like Julie Curtiss, Mary Reid Kelly, Penny Slinger, Chen Zhou and others believe Surrealism will remain relevant in any time period as the subconscious is the strongest realm of the mind, breaking away from all rational paradigms.


Embracing surrealistic art in your lives

People show great interest in the artwork of the Surrealism movement that is a century old due to the fact that it's fun, pretty and elegant to adorn their homes with such intriguing wall paintings.   


But in reality, an invisible connection with the subconscious mind is what these art works are capable of inducing, also unleashing a plethora of positivity in the lives of people. The world is becoming harsh with each passing day and everyone is looking for an uprising that transports their senses to a new avenue, devoid of pain, suffering and other cruelties.


The debate on deeper understanding of life is meaningless without the portal that takes you to the other side of reality, where you could wade through the stirring path of self-discovery. Surrealist artists have opened that passage so that you get a chance to liberate yourself, altering the existing perspectives of life and death.


The next time you have a strange dream that awakens the sensibilities of your subconscious mind, get yourself a Surrealistic or modern painting that instantly connects with you. The more you look at deciphering its finer details, the more it grows on you becoming an inseparable part of you forever.


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Author is co-founder of, an online Art marketplace for uniquely handpicked 100% original, hand-painted Canvas Artworks.


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