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Notebook

Notebook, 1993-

APPROACHES - In The Words Of . . . .

From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988.

André Breton

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What is Surrealism?
1923 - Avant-Garde/manifesto


Surrealism, noun: Pure psychic Automatism by which one undertakes to express, verbally, in writing, or by any other form, the true functioning of thought. It is dictated by thought, without any control by force of reason, and without any concern of an esthetic or moral order . . .

Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of association that have been overlooked, in the supreme power of the dream, and in the detached game played by thought. It tends to ruin definitively all other psychic mechanisms and substitute itself for them in the resolution of the principal problems of life . . .

Childhood perhaps most closely approaches "true life." This is the stage of life beyond which man possesses nothing more than his pass and a few complimentary tickets, where everything competes for the effective and risk-free possession of one's self. Surrealism seems to make these aspects of childhood viable again. It is as if one was once again running to one's safety or to one's doom. One relives a precious terror in the shadows. Thank God it's still only Purgatory. With a shudder, one crosses what the occultists call the "dangerous countrysides." My steps draw the attention of monsters waiting in ambush. They are still not too ill-willed toward me, and I am not lost, because I fear them. Here are "the elephants with women's heads and the winged lions." Soupault and I tremble at their sight. Here is the "soluble fish" that still frightens me a little . . .

Anything can be used to arrive at the desired suddenness in certain associations. The papiers collés of Picasso and Braque have the same value as the introduction of a commonplace in a passage of a most refined literary style. You may even assemble as freely as possible headlines and fragments of headlines taken from newspapers, and [observing, if you will, the rules of syntax] use that as the title of a poem . . . .

Surrealist Manifesto [excerpts]

[An Excerpt From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988. p. 237]




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