Exploring the Surreal

Surrealism is a movement that has influenced my work significantly. Some of my favourite artists, since childhood, are Salvador Dalí and René Magritte. I wanted to learn more about Surrealism, and I found this wonderful video on the website of Tate Modern, in which the actor Peter Capaldi explain Surrealism in five minutes. I was inspired by the idea of automatic drawing, discussed in the video.

Automatism in Drawing

André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, released the Manifesto of Surrealism in 1924, where he equates it with automatism: "psychic automatism in its pure state" based on the "actual functioning of thought ... in the absence of any control exercised by reason," (Conley 2006). 

Automatic drawing was practised by artists like André Masson, Joan Miró, Dalí, Jean Arp, André Breton and Picasso. The main purpose of this technique is to induce dream-like state, where the subconscious can be expressed. The hand is allowed to move "randomly across the paper" and is freed of rational control (Wikipedia 2015). Dreams, the main tools used by Surrealists, have the qualities which Freud described as essential in unlocking the subconscious: "the inexhaustible richness of spontaneous associations, and the ability to transform conventional reality into fantastic reality. This was a creativity known as automatism." (Vesly 2011)

Recently, I started experimenting with Generative art and was excited to find that it is a form of automatism. I would like to attempt automatic drawing and find ways to create more spontaneous and expressive work. 

Joan Miró Women and Bird in the Moonlight 1949. http://www.tate.org.uk/

Joan Miró Women and Bird in the Moonlight 1949. http://www.tate.org.uk/


Conley, K. 2006, "Surrealism and Outsider Art: From the "Automatic Message" to André Breton's Collection", Yale French Studies, vol. 109, no. 109, pp. 129-143.

Veselý, D. 2011, "Surrealism and Latent World of Creativity", Umeni, vol. 59, no. 3-4, pp. 267-273.