Characterized by ‘impossible’ juxtapositions and whimsical landscapes, Surrealist art is wrought with symbolism from the subconscious mind and dream state. From Dalí’s melting clocks to Magritte’s biomorphic creatures, this influential avant-garde movement was imaginatively boundless, designed to shatter the confines of lived experience.Psychoanalytical theories postulated by Sigmund Freud were central to Breton’s essential Surrealist commandments, and practitioners depicted their purest thoughts otherwise repressed by societal standards. While paintings are arguably the movement’s best-known artifacts, Surrealism bled into the realms of sculpture, photography, and film.
Inaugurated with the publication of Breton’s first Surrealist Manifesto in 1924 (though the term was coined by poet Guillaume Apollinaire c. 1917) and unofficially disbanded with the start of World War II, Surrealism served as Dada’s unofficial successor – built upon the same principles of disdain for the rational, the traditional, and the established. But while Dada culture was an aesthetic free-for-all solely united by a shared intent to invert sensibility, Surrealism was arguably more artistically-minded in its endeavors, and became one of history’s most recognizable schools of thought.