This essay compares Dream Surrealist vs. Automatist Surrealist. Surrealism was born in the café culture of Paris in the 1920’s as an evolution of dada, one of the first attempts to go beyond the rational in Western art without pursuing the path of religious transcendentalism. …
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The essay "Dream Surrealist vs. Automatist Surrealist" discusses Automatist Surrealist and Dream Surrealist. From this era, artists and intellectuals both would increasingly use modern methods to explore the psyche and express its contents, seeking new forms and modalities of expression to accomplish the goal. Where dada sought to embrace the irrational and elevate it to a de facto cosmic principle, this is also recognition of the final deterioration of medieval systems of thought and the birth of the modern individual in Europe and internationally. As the avante garde artists of this movement, André Masson and Salvador Dali represent two aspects of early Surrealism, differentiated by their methodology of inquiry into the content of the mind and its expression into two factions, the dream surrealists and the automatist surrealists. Masson’s “Automatic Drawing” of 1924 is paradigmatic of the automatist school which used artistic methods based in illogic and chance to override the conscious aspects of both mind and artistic expression to search for self-discovery and universalism in the imagery of the subconscious and unconscious states of mind. To do so they often practiced automatic drawing in order to conjure these images out of the deeper states of consciousness by overriding the processes of the ego and the senses. In this manner, the surrealists based their art on an early form of Western depth psychology. The dream surrealists shared Freud’s infatuation with the symbolism of dreams and dream interpretation. and sought to express the imagery of dreams in their artwork. Yet, unlike the automatists, the dream surrealists did not seek to overcome the traditional use of the ego in painting, but rather to use the ego to express the language of dreams, a subtle difference that can be seen through comparing Masson’s work to one of Salvador Dali’s first dream surrealist paintings, “Inaugural Goose Flesh” (1928). In 1924, Salvador Dali’s artwork was still very much exhibiting the influences of Cubism and of the Greek-Italian surrealist Giorgio de Chirico. Dali’s “Still Life” (1924) and “Port Alguer” (1924) both show the influence of Picasso and early Cubism, as well as Dali’s early experimentation with different styles such as Impressionism, reflected in the waters of the sea in contrast to the cubist architecture. (ArtMight, 2011) Yet, in “Still Life” (1924), the “metaphysical plane” introduced by de Chirico is beginning to be shown in his painting, fully evident four years later when Dali paints, “Inaugural Goose Flesh” (1928). This “metaphysical plane” is different than the traditional perspective of portrait, still life, or natural painting. What it does is replace the horizon and relation between earth and sky which dominates representational painting with an infinite horizon upon which anything can arise, representing the plane of mind and the world of dreams. In de Chirico’s early work, the viewer has the unspoken understanding through the use of light on an artificial, imaginary, and infinite horizon, that the events or scene depicted is a dream image. Salvador Dali would become recognized by developing this aspect of the imaginary or metaphysical plane into his artwork over a long career, but it is in “
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