Western Governors University
Pop Art and Surrealism
Surrealism was a style of art and literature that arose in the 20th century, emphasizing the subconscious or spontaneous meaning of imagery created by reflex or intuition (Surrealism, 2013). Surrealism began in Europe and developed from the Dadaist period. Surrealism is distinguished by an irrational, improbable collection of impressions. While similar to the Dadaist period, it was less violent and more artistically based. This could be attributed to the fact the it did not surface until the end of World War I. The first major work, the Surrealist Manifesto, was written by Andre Brenton and he described Surrealism as a “fusion of elements of fantasy with elements of the modern world to form a kind of superior reality” (Gregory, 4166-4167). Surrealists believed in the innocent eye, that art was created in the unconscious mind (Mak 1). Surrealists based their work on emotions, imagination and dreams. They used methods such as hallucinogens, hypnotism, and sleep-inducing drugs to slip into their unconscious minds for inspiration. Images found in dreams were seen as pure art (Mak 2). Surrealists believed they were discovering a new avenue of knowledge by delving into the dream world. Surrealists leave analysis of their work to the viewer. There was often no explanation given as to the reason for the creation of the piece. The most common technique used in Surrealism is the juxtaposition of objects that do not belong together. Surrealism’s influence on future art movements, including Pop art, was very similar to art movements before. Breaking traditional thoughts of what art is and introducing thought provoking images to the audience. While both of these movements followed major conflicts (WW I and WW II, respectively), surrealists did not embrace, nor include, commercial products or celebrities within their pieces. If they had, Rene Magritte’s green apple might have been a Chiquita...
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