Art movements/Avant-Garde/Surrealism

Surrealism is a 20th-century artistic movement which was born as one of the First Artistic Vanguards which appeared before the Second World War. The official date of the beginning of the surrealist vanguard was in 1924 in France when the “First Manifesto” was published, written by André Breton. In that manifesto, Breton defines Surrealism as follows:

“Pure psychic automatism, by which it is intended to express, verbally, in writing, or by other means, the real process of thought. Thought’s dictation, in the absence of all control exercised by the reason and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations”[1]

André Masson, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst are several of the most representative artists of surrealist painting. Besides, Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel have written the script for the most representative surrealist film in the history of the cinema, “An Andalusian dog”. Several antecedents of the surrealist artistic movement are “The Interpretation of Dreams”, a book which was published by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in 1899 and the techniques of psychoanalysis which are based on the free association of different ideas. Besides, Dadaism, as an artistic and cultural movement which preceded the surrealist movement, was an important antecedent of this movement. Both Dadaism and Surrealism were born as opposite movements to traditional art. Different artistic objects of the surrealist vanguard show elements which are related to the representation of dreams. Its expansion around the world is an important characteristic of the surrealist movement. After the Second World War this vanguard expanded to the United States and Latin America. In Chile, the most representative artist of the surrealist painting was Roberto Matta.

Anticolonial revolutionary writers in the Négritude movement of Martinique, a French colony at the time, took up Surrealism as a revolutionary method - a critique of European culture and a radical subjective. This linked with other Surrealists and was very important for the subsequent development of Surrealism as a revolutionary praxis. The journal Tropiques, featuring the work of Césaire along with Suzanne Césaire, René Ménil, Lucie Thésée, Aristide Maugée and others, was first published in 1941.

Surrealism and the cinema Edit

David Lynch is a contemporary film director whose films show surrealist elements. These ones do not have a traditional narrative, on the contrary, he creates strange stories by combining real as well as unreal events. Lost Highway (1998) and Mulholland Drive (2002) are films which have elements related to the surrealist vanguard.

Bibliography Edit


  2. CIRLOT, Lourdes (1995) Primeras Vanguardias Artísticas. Editorial Labor. Barcelona
  3. CIRLOT, Lourdes (Primera Edición 1988) Las claves de las vanguardias artísticas. Editorial Ariel. Barcelona
  4. SANCHEZ BIOSCA, Vicente (2004) Cine y vanguardias artísticas. Conflictos, encuentros, fronteras. Ediciones Paidós Ibérica. España. (“Introducción. Vanguardia y modernidad en el cinematógrafo”
  5. Pintura Latinoamericana (1999) Ediciones Banco Velox. Buenos Aires
  6. Kelley, Robin D.G. "Poetry and the Political Imagination: Aimé Césaire, Negritude, & the Applications of Surrealism". July 2001