Surrealism – a movement consisting of fanatical dreamers who over-experimented with drugs, or an insightful, philosophical group who wanted to change our perspective of the world? The conception today is that Surrealism is both philosophical and fanatical as artists of the movement try to lose inhibitions and gain a new perspective on life.
A cultural movement which began in the 1920s, Surrealism flourished when war had torn the world apart; there was a need to escape reality and enter a dreamlike world. It originated in Paris and aimed to reveal the unconscious mind through art and literature. Surrealists tried to work freely, having no constraints over their work, which gave it a dream-like quality. Aiming to change perceptions of reality, Surrealists tried to break down the barriers of control and release the unconscious.
Some artists involved in the surrealist movement were Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Giorgio De Chirico and Max Ernst. Dalí’s influence over painting, photography and film was significant; his Lobster Telephone (1936) turned the art world on its head, making people question whether this was really art and its meaning. Dalí wanted people to look past the reality of the objects and see the juxtaposition of the lobster and the telephone as something sexual. Whether this is what the viewer observed is debatable, however the idea of re-examining the ordinary was still the foremost theme for Dalí and many other Surrealists.