The goal of the Surrealism movement was exploring imagination and looking above reality. The Dada movement laid the foundation for Surrealism because it dealt a lot with the subconscious and dreams. A good quote that relates to the Surrealism movement is “Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision”, said by Salvador Dalí. This is true of Surrealism because surrealist works have dreamlike imagery with unexpected and illogical elements that contribute to the fantasy world that is Surrealism.
One example of Surrealism art is Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory, 1931.
The atmosphere of this work is sort of dreamlike and eerie. It looks as though it is in the middle of nowhere and could only exist in someone’s dreams. The unexpected elements in this are pretty much everything, from the melting clocks, the ant infested pocket watch, to the mysterious figure in the center. At first glance one might see the juxtaposition of these objects as random and illogical. On some level this is true, but that is the point. Everything in this piece is in a dream-state where illogical and abstract things are happening that might boggle the viewer’s mind. I know mine did when I first saw this. The objects in The Persistence of Memory all symbolize something that makes a seemingly absurd work have a philosophical meaning. These objects Salvador Dali has incorporated into his work refer to time and death. The mysterious image in the middle is suggested to be half of a sleeping face. The hairs coming out of it are the eyelashes. The face seems peaceful yet it looks lost with no concept of time. The melting watches may suggest that time in a dreamlike state or hallucination is many times inconceivable. The death motifs are the dead tree and the ants. Salvador Dali used ants in his works to symbolize the decay of time.