Flow of Surrealism: Definition, Examples of Surrealism Works

The flow of Surrealism – Painting is included in the branch of the flow of fine arts. In the branch of painting, one can channel their creativity by using two-dimensional planes, such as canvas, board, drawing paper, and can also use other media. In the field of art, there are several streams that produce various kinds of beautiful and meaningful paintings. On this occasion, we will discuss a school of art that is quite well-known and still exists today, namely the Surrealism school. This one genre is a flow of art that displays images of real objects in conditions that are not possible in the real world. So that the flow of Surrealism has an image like in a dream state.

The development of the art of painting has indeed existed since ancient times. This relates to an expression of one’s soul which is poured into written form. From ideas or ideas from the existing flow of painting, it will certainly produce a style of painting which will then differentiate between one artist and another. Even in some schools of painting there is a teaching that can be easily understood.

In this article, we will discuss the definition of Surrealism, the characteristics, characters, and examples of the work of each artist. But before going deeper, the first thing we will discuss is the meaning of Surrealism.

Definition of Surrealism

Surrealism is a school that presents the contradiction between dreams and reality and then makes it real into an image that displays real objects in conditions that would not be possible in the real world. It is like in a dream or our subconscious. Surrealism itself uses the approach of Freud’s psychological theory which explores the subconscious and the image of a human dream as a depiction of human desires.

Dreams or images from the subconscious are believed to be able to show true human desires and desires, but these things have been buried in the subconscious due to social pressure or other things so as not to display them. Even though it has been covered up, it does not mean that what is a desire and also what a person really wants is a negative thing. It is possible that something that is hidden can occur due to lack of confidence, embarrassment, to the point of being feared because of certain traumas. It can also be as simple as a childhood dream that fades away as they have to face a more logical reality as they grow up. Having a little desire is okay, as long as we can control it and not follow it.


The Rise of Surrealism

Surrealism is one of the greatest art movements of the 20th century. Surrealism was coined by Andre Breton, a poet from the Dadaism school in his Surrealist Manifesto in 1924. This stream originated in the world of literature and ended up spreading to the world of fine arts and other fields of art. However, some scholars suggest that this genre dates back to 1917, through a work by Giorgio de Chirico that presents a view of a city sidewalk with a stylistic touch that seems almost hallucinatory. Although in the end, Chirico decided to leave his painting style. But his work has inspired Mac Ernst to adopt a similar style.

Like the majority of art schools, Surrealism is a product that exists from its historical period. This flow rebelled against the comfort zone produced by the lower middle class. The Dadaists disagreed with the satisfaction of the middle class. They conclude that the middle class is a group whose horizon is the most squeezed by its own comfort zone. Until they are not aware that they are actually one of the most disadvantaged groups in modern society.

This illustrates how the Dadaists with their various surprising and unreasonable ideas will try to move the middle class out of these generic ideas. Surrealism itself still adopts this idea, but does so by bringing dreamy images that tend to be imaginative on real objects. On the cloth side, Dadais presents something shocking through an ugly, random, and unorthodox image for the general public to see. The Surrealism flow always wanted to make their minds free from the various limitations of reality that were built by modern society.

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The end of Surrealism

As for the polemic that has arisen among historians about the end of this school. For some historians, Surrealism ended after World War II. When other modern art movements rose to prominence. Meanwhile, experts reveal that the death of Andre Breton which occurred in 1966 marked the end of the Surrealism school. On the other hand, other opinions reveal that this one genre continues today and is reflected in many contemporary works of art.


Elements of Surrealism

The following are some elements of Surrealism that helped create a Surrealist work. These elements include:

1. Myth

Myth is an expression from within the human soul. Every human being has a fear within them that they believe in. While in Surrealism, they will present these myths, which we may believe or fear. With the existence of myths, the value of an art from Surrealist works will increase.

2. Dreams

Dreams are one of the best ways to reveal something that comes from the subconscious. With dreams, things that are not real can be created and realized in a form of work.

3. Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis will usually use automatic techniques, frottage, drawing, fumage, decalcomania, cadavre exquis, and development techniques.

Characteristics of Surrealism

The following are some of the characteristics of the Surrealism flow that you need to know:

a. Presenting images of real objects in unreal conditions
b. Imaging as in a dream
c. Having a high contrast, that means: there is a large form side by side with a small form
d. Playing an image in a dream with one in the real world
e. Impressed like a fantasy but still stick to the references that exist in the real world

Surrealist Style and Technique

Surrealist paintings are defined not only by identifiable characteristics, but also by a philosophy that believes in using certain techniques to express the intent of works of art and enable them to achieve their goals.

Several works by Surrealist artists, for example Picasso’s works are different from Max Ernst’s works. Artists tend to change their style over time, they will even use different styles and techniques in one work of art. Some of the techniques commonly used by Surrealist artists are collage, automatism, grattage and frottage.

1. Automatism

Automatism is often used in writing. Where the writer will let the flow of words flow by itself without any obstacles. The same process was applied to Surrealist painting, where the artists would let their brushes paint and move by themselves without any resistance.

2. Frottage and Grattage

Frottage is when an artist creates a textured surface and rubs it in using a soft material such as a crayon. While Grattage refers more when pieces of paint are removed using a certain method.

Figures of Surrealism

Below are some figures from the Surrealism school who had a considerable influence on the Surrealist art movement. These characters include:

1. Rene Magritte

Rene Magritte born on November 21, 1898 is one of the most famous Belgian artists of the 20th century. Magritte received a lot of praise and acclaim for his very special approach to Surrealism. However, before becoming an artist, to support his life, Magritte spent years working on designing and producing book covers.

Magritte is very interested in the existence of the middle class, namely people who spend most of their time working and spending their money to survive. According to Magritte, the middle class is classified as poor enough to receive subsidies from the government, but also unable to meet basic needs such as housing. He symbolizes this life through a painting of a man wearing a bowler hat.

Golconda Surrealism Painting and Its Analysis

The work features a human rain scene. Where everyone looks almost identical to one another and wears the same clothes, complete with a bowler hat. Even so, it could be that the men in the painting are just floating because there is no implied indication of movement. The background of the painting is an area in the suburbs that is similar to the area where Magritte lives. He also wears clothes in the same way, that is, like the people in the painting. A bowler hat is a hat commonly used by the middle class at that time.

One of the interpretations or interpretations that can be produced is that Magritte wants to highlight the boundaries between individuality and associations or groups that have been lost and blurred in modern times. All the men wore the same clothes, had similar body features, and were all floating simultaneously in the same place. Individual freedom has been lost, even though this is one of the basic human rights to express themselves the way they want.

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2. Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is an artist who regularly uses visual symbolism derived from the physical pain she experiences in an effort to better understand emotional suffering. Since childhood, Kahlo has suffered from polio which unbalanced her legs. During her life, Kahlo experienced pain that would not end. So he spends more time in the hospital. Before Kahlo, the language of death, loss, and loneliness was well researched by male artists. However, the results have not been significantly dissected by female artists. Not only that, Kahlo didn’t just enter the realm of general symbolism, but she also expanded it by creating her own symbol.

Kahlo is not only categorized as a Surrealist artist. But also became one of the figures of the feminist art movement. She has created many distinctive symbols or icons used throughout her career, including hair, animals and ribbons. Kahlo has succeeded in creating a new way to talk about even the most complex aspects of a woman’s identity. Not only being a great artist, Kahlo is also a figure much admired because of her unique personality. A portrait of Kahlo’s face which is also very iconic, with the characteristic thick and united eyebrows. He also had a major influence on other artists. Until now, there are still many contemporary artists who use their portrait images to be used as references for their works.

The Surrealism Painting The Wounded Deer and Its Analysis

This painting features a hybrid between a deer and a human, which is a portrait of the painter, Frida Kahlo. He put himself into a helpless creature and was injured because of the arrows that stuck all over his body. Apparently, this hybrid creature was being hunted in the forest.

When viewed from the scene in the painting, Kahlo confirms that he is still alive. However, the arrows that stuck all over his body would slowly kill him. The creature is seen wearing a pearl earring, as if highlighting her desire to become another woman who might live longer because she doesn’t suffer from a disease like her. He also seems to show his desire to live more freely in the open.

Kahlo does not describe herself as a stag with big antlers. This shows her spirituality towards feminist thought. Like satire on the condition of the art world which has always been dominated by a man. Rarely do women get a place to become artists. In this painting, he also shows his interest in appreciating other great artists from the past. The painting is associated with a painting with the theme of St. Sebastian, who has a similar scene, namely arrows sticking all over his body.

3. Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali is one of the most famous, dominant, and productive Surrealist artists of the 20th century. Dali is known as a pioneer artist who knows that commercial awareness is also needed for an artist. He frequently appeared on TV and received intensive press interviews. In the course of his career, he has not only painted, but has also explored other art media such as printmaking, sculpture, advertising art, design art, literature, film, and what is quite famous is the collaboration he did with Luis Buñuel and Alfred Hitchcock.

Apart from his unbeatable technical skills, Dali was also renowned for his eccentric and flamboyant personality. In his early use of organic morphology, his work bears the hallmarks of the Spanish artists Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. His paintings also show his interest in Classical and Renaissance art. This is evident through the hyper realistic style and use of religious symbolism in his works.

Surrealism Painting The Persistence of Time and Its Analysis

The Persistence of Time is a fairly iconic and famous painting by Salvador Dali. The painting displays various kinds of wall clocks and an alarm that looks melted. In this painting, Dali makes an object that should be hard appear soft. The existence of a tree that looks like it is growing on a block of wood that is similar to a table adds to the impression of the contrast between reality and the world of dreams.

The horizon that looks wide but looks empty, coupled with the cliffs that are clearly depicted even though they are not close, makes the background of the painting look like in a dream world, or just an illusion. The Persistence Of Time seems to be the main focus in this work.