The Manifestos: Bewildering

13 Nov

A few questions arised as I read Salvador Dali’s The Conquest of the Irrational and André Breton’s Manifesto of Surrealism.

In Dali’s Conquest, the section ‘the waters we swim in‘ concludes that Dali detest all forms of simplicity in art. In the section ‘my fortifications‘ he expands that statement by calling all non-surreal art a regressive process. Surrealism pertains to concrete irrationality and stands as a far more authentic and true process. Under ‘the abjection and misery of abstraction-creation‘ Dali calls abstract art mentally deficient in comparison to the depth of surrealistic work, arguing the one sideness of Gestalt theory is simply a regurgitation of preconceived ideals.

If Mark Rothko can begin his career as a surrealist and evolve into an abstract style, is this considered a lapse by Dali’s standards? Was surrealism the end of artistic evolution to Dali? Could surrealism ever surpass itself?




In Manifesto of Surrealism André Breton defines surrealism as the following: a psychicautomatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express — verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner — the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.

Art movements are a reaction and reflection of the times they transpire. I do have to wonder if the movement of Surrealism would have existed with out Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic research and published works such as “The Interpretation of Dreams.”



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