The term surrealism was coined by Guillaume Apollinaire to describe the Jean Cocteau/Erik Satie/Pablo Picasso/Lonide Massine collaboration Parade (1917) in the program notes: "From this new alliance, for until now stage sets and costumes on one side and choreography on the other had only a sham bond between them, there has come about, in Parade, a kind of super-realism (sur-ralisme), in which I see the starting point of a series of manifestations of this new spirit (esprit nouveau)."
Andr Breton's Surrealist Manifesto of 1924 and the publication of the magazine La Rvolution Surraliste (The Surrealist Revolution) marked the beginning of the movement as a public agitation. In the manifesto of 1924 Breton defines surrealism as "pure psychic automatism" with automatism being spontaneous creative production without conscious moral or aesthetic self-censorship. By Breton's admission, however, as well as by the subsequent development of the movement, this was a definition capable of considerable expansion. Breton also wrote the following dictionary and encyclopedia definitions:
Dictionary: SURREALISM, n. Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, or 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.
Encyclopedia: SURREALISM. Philosophy. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of previously neglected associations, in the omnipotence of dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends to ruin once and for all all other psychic mechanisms and to substitute itself for them in solving all the principal problems of life."
Impact of surrealismWhile surrealism is typically associated with the arts, it has been said to transcend them; surrealism has had an impact in many other fields. In this sense, surrealism does not specifically refer only to self-identified "surrealists", or those sanctioned by Breton, rather, it refers to a range of creative acts of revolt and efforts to liberate the imagination.
In addition to surrealist ideas that are grounded in the ideas of Hegel, Marx and Freud, surrealism is seen by its advocates as being inherently dynamic and is dialectic in its thought. surrealist groups have also drawn on sources as seemingly diverse as Clark Ashton Smith, Bugs Bunny, comic strips, the obscure poet Samuel Greenberg and the hobo writer and humourist T-Bone Slim. One might say that surrealist strands may be found in movements such as Free Jazz (Don Cherry, Sun Ra, etc.) and even in the daily lives of people in confrontation with limiting social conditions. Thought of as the effort of humanity to liberate the imagination as an act of insurrection against society, surrealism dates back to, or finds precedents in, the alchemists, possibly Dante, various heretical groups, Hieronymus Bosch, Marquis de Sade, Charles Fourier, Comte de Lautreamont and Arthur Rimbaud. Surrealists believe that "non-Western" cultures also provide a continued source of inspiration for surrealist activity because some may strike up a better balance between instrumental reason and the imagination in flight than Western culture.
Some artists, such as H.R. Giger in Europe, who won an Academy Award for his stage set, and who also designed the "creature," in the movie Alien, have been popularly called "surrealists," though Giger is a visionary artist and it is speculated the he doesn't claim to be surrealist. The Society for the Art of Imagination has come in for particularly bitter criticism from a self-characterised surrealist movement (although this criticism has been characterized by at least one anonymous individual as coming from "the Marxists [sic] surrealist groups, who maintain small contingents worldwide;" he has also pointed out what he considers the hypocrisy of any surrealist criticism of the Society for the Art of Imagination given that Kathleen Fox designed the cover of issue 4 of the bulletin of the Groupe de Paris du Mouvement Surrealiste and also participated in the 2003 Brave Destiny show at the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center." Though some presented Brave Destiny as the largest-ever exhibit of surrealist artists, the show was officially billed as exhibiting "Surrealism, Surreal/Conceptual, Visionary, Fantastic, Symbolism, Magic Realism, the Vienna School, Neuve Invention, Outsider, Nave, the Macabre, Grotesque and Singulier Art.")
Surrealist music In the 1920s several composers were influenced by surrealism, or by individuals in the surrealist movment. Among these were Bohuslav Martinu, Andre Souris, and Edgar Varese, who stated that his work Arcana was drawn from a dream sequence. Souris in particular was associated with the movement: he had a long, if sometimes spotty, relationship with Magritte, and worked on Paul Nouge's publication Adieu Marie.
French composer Pierre Boulez wrote a piece called "explosante-fixe" (1972), inspired by Andre Breton's "mad love".
Even though Breton by 1946 responded rather negatively to the subject of music with his essay Silence is Golden, later surrealists have been interested in, and found parallels to surrealism in, the improvisation of jazz (as alluded to above), and the blues (surrealists such as Paul Garon have written articles and full-length books on the subject). Jazz and blues musicians have occasionally reciprocated this interest; for example, the 1976 World Surrealist Exhibition included such performances by Honeyboy Edwards.
Readers of the surrealists have also analysed reggae and, later, rap, and some rock bands such as The Psychedelic Furs. In addition to musicians who have been influenced by surrealism (including some influence in rock - the title of the 1967 psychedelic Jefferson Airplane album Surrealistic Pillow was obviously inspired by the movement), such as the experimental group Nurse With Wound (whose album title Chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and umbrella is taken from a line in Lautreamont's Maldoror), surrealist music has included such explorations as those of Hal Rammel.
Surrealist film Surrealist films such as Un chien andalou and L'ge d'Or by Luis Buuel.
Surrealist and film theorist Robert Benayoun has written books on Tex Avery, Woody Allen, Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers.
Some have described David Lynch as a surrealist filmmaker. He has never participated in the surrealist movement or in any surrealist activity, but there are arguably some aspects of many of his films that are of surrealist interest.
Some have found the television series The Prisoner and Lost to be of surrealist interest.
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