Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is most famous for its visual artworks and writings. Its aim was to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality."
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- I categorically refused to consider the surrealists as just another literary and artistic group. I believed they were capable of liberating man from the tyranny of the “practical, rational world.” I was going to become the Nietzsche of the irrational. I, the obsessed rationalist, was the only one who knew what I wanted: I was not going to submit to irrationality for its own sake, to the narcissist and passive irrationality others practiced. I would do completely the opposite. I would fight for the “conquest of the irrational.”
- Salvador Dalí, in Diary of a Genius (1964), p. 9
- I am Surrealism.
- Salvador Dalí, as quoted in Salvador Dali : Master of Surrealism and Modern Art (1971) by George Cevasco, p. 13
- I have been inclined to regard the Surrealists as complete fools, but that young Spaniard with his candid, fanatical eyes and his undeniable technical mastery, has changed my estimate.
- The great task of this century is that of revising the old scales of value in every field, of destroying worn-out customs and institutions and of constructing a form of society in which men may be able to make full use of all their faculties. Few poets...have set about this task with so great a thoroughness as the surrealists. Already they have succeeded in widening and deepening the total of human experience.
- David Gascoyne, A Short Survey of Surrealism, 1936.
- Dadaism and surrealism … represented the intoxication of total license, the intoxication in which the mind wallows when it has made a clean sweep of value and surrendered to the immediate. The good is the pole towards which the human spirit is necessarily oriented, not only in action but in every effort, including the effort of pure intelligence. The surrealists have set up non-oriented thought as a model; they have chosen the total absence of value as their supreme value. Men have always been intoxicated by license, which is why, throughout history, towns have been sacked. But there has not always been a literary equivalent for the sacking of towns. Surrealism is such an equivalent.
- Simone Weil, “The responsibility of writers,” On Science, Necessity, and the Love of God, R. Rees, trans. (1968), p. 167