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The Absence of Myth: Writings on Surrealism.

In its illustrations could be seen side by side a Zapotec urn and a scene from the Folies Bergères, or a distribution map of the porter’s yoke, and a cover from a copy of ...Such was the encounter of two realms: the realm of science which had long been developed by students of Africa, America and Oceania, and the aesthetic which had been discovered first by cubism and then by surrealism: realms that had as a common factor their non-classical nature. (Rivière, 1968).

26. Breton, “Declaration on the Second Moscow Trial,” in What Is Surrealism? 168ff.

Other writers offered important pronouncements and views about the character, interests, and politics of surrealism. Nevertheless, André Breton was its leading light, and he offered what might be termed the master narrative of the movement.2

Andre Breton and the Basic Concepts of Surrealism. Trans.

Toward the Poetics of Surrealism.

27. Note Breton’s “Speech to Young Haitian Poets,” which inflamed the intellectuals of that impoverished country in 1945 and sparked a successful uprising against a dictatorial regime. What Is Surrealism? 258ff.

21. Theodor W. Adorno, “Looking Back on Surrealism” in Notes to Literature, 2 vols., trans. Shierry Weber Nicholson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 88.

Discussing The Uncanny From Sigmund Freuds Essay

20. Herbert Read, “Surrealism and the Romantic Principle,” in The Philosophy of Modern Art (New York: Meridian Books, 1955), 110ff.

In 1936, Kurt Seligmann and Arlette Paraf Seligmann journeyed to French Tahiti for their honeymoon; not just an exotic location, Tahiti provided the elements that had previously obsessed Seligmann. Polynesian and Tahitian indigenous objects figured in the collection of the Musée de Trocadéro in Paris, frequented by the surrealists, and particularly treasured by André Breton. The Trocadéro ethnographic collection collaged anthropological art, objects and documents, providing the surrealists with insights, which they conveyed in journals such as . Seligmann was familiar with these resources, and, possessed of a fine visual memory, made the connection between the formal elements of Polynesian and Oceanic art with the art of the indigenous Pacific Northwest Coast peoples such as the Tsimshian, with whom he lived for four months in 1938. One of the currents of connection was the or animistic force that flowed through nature, which Seligmann found transformed in the animal totems of the Northwest.

Seligmann took the idea of sympathetic magic, and using “the part suggests the whole” played with magic, for example, in his object created for the surrealist exposition of 1938. His work (Ultrafurniture), an ottoman composed of legs, is a sympathetic pun on the act of sitting, whereby the legs encourage us to mimic them by sitting. Seligmann may have intended to shock his audience because these women’s legs, wearing stockings and heels, and revealing the knees, would have affronted a conservative audience. His transgression of this taboo of female modesty had the contradictory effect of both attracting and offending a conventional viewer. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Kurt Seligmann’s father had a furniture department store in Basel; young Kurt would have been exposed to the furniture stock while growing up, just as Man Ray was exposed to his father and mother’s tailoring business.

13. For some interesting reflections, see Herbert Marcuse, “Letters to the Chicago Surrealists,” in Arsenal 4 (1989): 31–47.
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Surrealism: The Art of Self Discovery

The surrealists rejected religion, particularly Catholicism, and bourgeois European society. By 1929, in the , André Breton called for a clean sweep: “Everything remains to be done, every means must be worth trying, in order to lay waste to the ideas of family, country, religion.”At this time, the surrealists had hopes for an alliance with communism, unaware of the dictator Stalin’s rise in the Soviet Union. They strongly opposed the colonization and religious conversion of non-Western cultures that by the mid-nineteenth century had become the conquered dominions of Europe. The indigenous peoples of North and South America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia, and their colonial inhabitants, later were drawn into the colonial forces of World Wars I and II—and tragically became cannon fodder for an inherited European conflict.

the surrealists joined with Freud, ..

“We are still living under the reign of logic... Under the pretence of civilization and progress, we have managed to banish from the mind everything that may rightly or wrongly be termed superstition, or fancy; forbidden is any kind of search for truth which is not in conformance with accepted practices… A part of our mental world has been brought back to light. ... Freud very rightly brought his critical faculties to bear upon the dream.”

Freudism and Surrealism free essay, term paper and …

Surrealists used this dormant residue of magic in a new way, merging it with their broad knowledge of non-Western belief systems and images, and with thecountervailing tendencies towards magic, supernaturalism and mystical experience that were a subculture of the modern West. In the first , André Breton writes of the surrealist pursuit of mystery:

Freudism and Surrealism Free Essay, ..

The mystery appeared in the trance state entered by the poet Robert Desnos, whose automatic writing eclipsed the conscious control of the mind. Of the first surrealist practices, automatic writing was intended to reveal the free associations of the subconscious mind and the dream. Words appeared in unfamiliar juxtapositions, with astonishing connections. Automatic writing was accompanied by chance and coincidence. The surrealists believed that chance was the expression of a sacred force that revealed the magical, predestined meaning of everyday life. Jean Arp threw random pieces of paper to create images, while Tristan Tzara wrote poems through chance selection of words. Chance combinations in poetry went beyond “word salad” to suggest strange metaphors that excited an obscure sense of significance and to waken the symbol making capacity of the mind. Was this mere coincidence, fortuitous serendipity, or was it the force of magic that made connections between disparate words and shapes to open this world of imagination?

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