2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Fine Arts

Surrealism and Painting: Revolution in Practice
Sarah E. Whelehon
Dr. Julia DeLancey and Dr. Sara Orel, Faculty Mentors

In the mid 1920s, surrealism rose in vehement objection to the artistic customs of the French Academy, war-related political and social disorder, and apathy espoused by the bourgeoisie. Influenced by both the previous Dada movement and the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud and Pierre Janet, the surrealists set out to revolutionize thought and perception. They particularly utilized Janet’s method of automatism, which liberates latent content from the subconscious mind without conscious intervention. Despite a consistently harsh barrage of criticism, the surrealists’ revolution permeated European culture, specifically due to the success of their painting. This paper will address the disparity between modern surrealist scholarship and the current, mainstream notion of surrealism, since many viewers remain unaware of the surrealists’ initial revolutionary attitude and relationship to automatism. This inconsistency illustrates the importance of studying art in its appropriate historical context.

Keywords: Surrealism, Painting, Revolution, Automatism, Scholarship

Topic(s):Art History

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 4-2
Location: OP 2210
Time: 8:30

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