SURREALISM QUOTES

quotations about surrealism

Surrealism quote

Surrealism was a perception of reality over which reason was denied the opportunity to exercise confining restrictions.

JOHN HERBERT MATTHEWS, The Surrealist Mind

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Surrealism is not a school of poetry but a movement of liberation ... a way of rediscovering the language of innocence, a renewal of the primordial pact, poetry is the basic text, the foundation of the human order. Surrealism is revolutionary because it is a return to the beginning of all beginnings.

OCTAVIO PAZ, Alternating Current

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The vice named surrealism is the immoderate and impassioned use of the stupefacient image or rather of the uncontrolled provocation of the image for its own sake and for the element of unpredictable perturbation and of metamorphosis which it introduces into the domain of representation; for each image on each occasion forces you to revise the entire Universe.

LOUIS ARAGON, Paris Peasant

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Surrealism ... wills itself to be a philosophy, but a "philosophy of life," a way of living and thinking, a madness of living and thinking which, refusing the world as it is--since the "real" is often only habit--proposes both to "transform the world" (Marx) and to "change life" (Rimbaud), in a political and poetical rebellion.

JAQUELINE CHÉNIEUX-GENDRON, Surrealism

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Surrealism! What is Surrealism? In my opinion, it is above all a reawakening of the poetic idea in art, the reintroduction of the subject but in a very particular sense, that of the strange and illogical.

PAUL DELVAUX, lecture, 1966

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Surrealism in painting amounted to little more than the contents of a meagerly stocked dream world: a few witty fantasies, mostly wet dreams and agoraphobic nightmares.

SUSAN SONTAG, On Photography

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Surrealism is born of a consciousness of the derisory condition allotted to the individual and his thought, and a refusal to accommodate oneself to it.

JEAN-LOUIS BÉDOUIN, attributed, Surrealism, 1961

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Surrealism is merely the reflection of the death process. It is one of the manifestations of a life becoming extinct, a virus which quickens the inevitable end.

HENRY MILLER, The Cosmological Eye

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For its adherents, Surrealism was a way of life, a kind of existence that left room for playfulness and creativity. It was about living for the moment, with spontaneity and internal intellectual freedom and a lack of materialism, all of which were completely opposed to the values of the bourgeoisie.

CATHRIN KLINGSÖHR-LEROY, Surrealism

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Instead of stubbornly attempting to use surrealism for purposes of subversion, it is necessary to try to make of surrealism something as solid, complete and classic as the works of museums.

SALVADOR DALI, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali

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Among those who do not comprehend surrealism are people who look upon the real as verifiable, as something to be checked against past experience or observation. These individuals fail to see that for the surrealist the dimensions of the real cannot be gauged by reference to the familiar. So far as the real appears to have limits, they are foisted upon it by the mental, emotional, and imaginative limitations of spectators accustomed to measure the possible by the already known. For this reason, surrealism and many of its contemporary opponents remained inevitably at loggerheads. The one group insisted on estimating the scope of reality by its possibilities. The other condemned the real to be repetitive of what the past had shown them.

JOHN HERBERT MATTHEWS, The Surrealist Mind

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Surrealism can only deliver a reactionary judgment; can make out of history only an accumulation of oddities, a joke, a death trip.

SUSAN SONTAG, On Photography

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Surrealism negates everything implied by the divisions and prohibitions on which the majority cultural structure is founded: negating ready-made "orders," denying the pertinence of codes (social, but also stylistic, linguistic, and even logical). Surrealists therefore suspect everything that organizes the sense of things, the direction of things, in space and time, especially any kind of taxonomy and any presentation of evidence that has signification for us.

JAQUELINE CHÉNIEUX-GENDRON, Surrealism

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One can understand why Surrealism was not afraid to make for itself a tenet of total revolt, complete insubordination, of sabotage according to rule, and why it still expects nothing save from violence. The simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd.

ANDRÉ BRETON, Second Manifesto of Surrealism

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Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.

SALVADOR DALI, Declaration, 1929

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MTV has severely compromised surrealism, perhaps ruined it forever.

DONALD BARTHELME, "Being Bad"

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Surrealism has come to have two meanings: it was originally the closely-knit spiritual union of artists and writers who operated under the common trademark, worked out their artistic problems together, wrote for the same periodicals, sometimes even collaborated on works. But ... in its broader sense it represents a spiritual crisis that stems from the ideological developments of the nineteenth century, and has succeeded in producing a technique of writing and painting that conveys a materio-mystical vision of the universe.

ANNA BALAKIAN, Surrealism

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Surrealism sought to maintain its autonomy and the right to continue its own particular investigations into ways of changing consciousness, the role of the unconscious within the social body, and the current state of language both visual and verbal.

DAWN ADES, afterword, Investigating Sex: Surrealist Research

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Surrealism is embedded in the everyday, in the daily experience.

KATHARINE CONLEY, Robert Desnos, Surrealism, and the Marvelous in Everyday Life

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The mind which plunges into Surrealism, relives with burning excitement the best part of childhood.

ANDRÉ BRETON, Surrealist Manifesto, 1924

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