How To Become a Surrealist – A Manual to Psychic Automatism

André Masson, Automatic Drawing, 1924, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA.

In 1924, André Breton defined a completely new word – Surrealism – in his First Manifesto of Surrealism. It wasn’t a trend in art or literature, but rather a way of life, he explained. Based on his dictionary-like entry on Surrealism, I compiled a short manual that can help you follow this philosophy and become a full-time Surrealist.

SURREALISM, n. Pure psychic automatism through which it is intended to express, either verbally or in writing, or in any other manner, the true functioning of thought.

A group of friends, who later became Surrealists, influenced by the groundbreaking studies of psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud, searched to unlock the potential of the unconscious and imagination. The “true functioning of thought” was in other words a way how our minds work, how we make different associations and how our subconscious shapes us.

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