Surrealism can be defined as a protest against rationality in the narrow minded, capitalistic, dull industrial society with mercantile spirit and petty logic. It represents a revolutionary and utopian ambition to change life. It is aimed at attempting to ‘re-enchant’ the world that has been enslaved by bourgeois civilization. This ‘re-enchanting’ is attained through mad love, imagination, poetry, myths, magic and dreams among others (Claybourne, 2009).
The artists expressed their surrealistic ideas in sculpture, poetry compilations or paintings. The idea of surrealism includes all the above mentioned manifestations, but it is mainly a certain state of mind in the final analysis. It is a state of negativity, revolt and insubordination that draws its poetic strength and positive erotic from the abyss of desire, depths of the unconscious and the magical well of imagination. Such state of mind represented by surrealism can be found not only in museums and libraries, but also also in attitudes and behaviors.
One of the founding fathers of the surrealist movement, Andre Breton, gave a description of the art form of surrealism as one that portrays an ultimate reality. It was his belief that, by bringing the unconscious into art, people would be lured into discussion and thoughts about the world around them (Breton, 1969).
Surrealism expresses itself in different forms, and one of its most famous forms is the veristic surrealism with its unique realistic portrayal of fantasy or unreal scenes. Veristic surrealism brings its audience face to face with the painter's world of fantasy, and the artist attempts not to filter the scene through his/her conscious mind. This way, the viewer truly peeks into the artist's dreams and may give an interpretation of the work as he or she wishes (Suarez 217).
This idea is a noticeable difference compared to other types of surrealism that are often filtered through the conscious mind, which provokes a specific thought or produces a precise, structured image of the world. In this case, the artist does the interpretation of the work and presents it as already completed story to the viewer. Veristic realism, on the other hand, allows the viewers to imagine their own interpretation of the story and to have a glimpse of the artist's inner world (Noriega 45).
As surrealistic art, veristic surrealism is designed to portray the dream world in rich details. This style is regularly marked by strangely realistic or veristic painting, which appears to draw the viewer into a world of fantasy that does not have any connection with reality. One of the most known surrealists, Salvador Dali, made a painting of ornate scenes of fantastical creatures, melting clocks and other unusual objects.
There are different narrative and painting styles within veristic surrealism. Several artists have fantastic drawings that juxtapose weird objects sometimes in very normal settings. For example, Magritte offered very stark and plain interposed ideas or items that clearly clashed with each other. The work of Magritte did not regularly include fantasy creations but instead used ordinary things out of context. Other veristic surrealism artists went to the extreme opposite by creating entirely imaginary dream worlds, which were a combination of elements of mysticism and fantasy (Dearborn 217).
Today's veristic surrealists recognize the challenges that have faced their movement during the second half of the 20th century as it tried to become a main cultural force. They believe that the chaos of action painting was an expression of freedom and that inhibition and subjugation walk hand in hand. Pop art is the application of surrealism that is currently used today in commerce, marketing and advertisement. For the past 50 years, contemporary veristic surrealists have worked in silent seclusion. A revival of this art form will give the world a fresh eternal aesthetic pleasure and ensure reawakening of meaningful expression in art. Those who have understood the psychological architecture of surrealism have faithfully followed the subconscious images, analyzed and painted them with patience. Today, surrealism is not limited to art but has been of great help to writers and movie makers.
Absolute surrealism marked the beginning of surrealism. Absolute surrealism, which has more closeness to its theoretic specifications and ideas, traces its origin to the thought of transferring the unconscious in its most direct means to works of art. The position in absolute surrealism, therefore, is that the unconscious was majorly a part of the depiction process itself and not just the subject portrayed. The images produced in absolute surrealism flow directly from the subconscious and are not being contrived retrospectively.
In absolute surrealism, the imagery is fantastical with derivations from the spontaneous, unconscious thought. Some of the most prominent absolute surrealists include Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and Max Ernst. These artists expressed their unconscious through images that were evocative yet indefinite biomorphic. These images were derived from psychic automatism, spontaneous thought, or the subconscious. In using automatism, these artists explored the true concept of their subconscious. They also relied on different forms of chance art as grottage, frottage, exquisite corpse, and decalcomania (Levenson 263).
Frottage was a technique of rubbing crayon, graphite, or related media over different surfaces. The transferring of textures would then offer the artist the approach that is most provocative to create an image. Due to the artist lacking control over the textures that had resulted, this process was considered one that helped to develop natural artistic expression. The same technique was used in grottage, in painting, particularly. Decalcomania, a form of chance art, was a process in which paint was smeared over a glass slab and this slab pressed against paper. The artists were allowed to observe their ideas without having control over the process. The chance-guided unusual results enabled this observation.