Surrealist Art

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The early 20th century is known for its systematic deflation of the traditional rules of Western art. Artists of this era overthrew long held conventions in a series of movements, all arising before 1920. For example Cubists created new styles of composition in painting as well as sculpture. Fauvists and Expressionists attacked traditional notions of pictorial representations through brushwork and bright colors. This is referred to as the style of abstraction. Abstract Expressionists attempted to reconstruct this style of art as a result of the major changes that were happening worldwide. The early 20th century was a dark time for Western civilization especially. In the time of World War I as well as World War II, many artists gave their art a deeper social significance. Most European artists in the immediate postwar period used their art to come to terms in some ways with what they had experienced. There were two primary ways that artists went about their art during this time; some enjoyed the aspect of figural styles while others proposed abstract art (Stokstad 1128). Surrealist artists developed a number of techniques for liberating the unconscious, including dream analysis, free association, automatic writing, word games, and hypnotic trances. These artists were known for creating an outlet for others to discover a more intense reality, hence the term “surreal”. Automatism, a technique discovered by Surrealists, was designed to express the creative force of the unconscious. These artists were influenced by Freudian psychoanalytic theory, believing that the symbols and images thus produced by the mind may actually resemble a person’s unconscious physical forces (Stokstad 1120). Max Ernst, an artist who helped establish the Dada movement created many pieces that were designed to portray thoughts from free association. There are many varieties of techniques formed during this style of Automatism. Ernst’s painting titled The Horde...
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