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Surrealism split into two groups in the 1930’s. These two groups were
the Automatists and the Veristic Surrealists. Although they were similiar,
they had many differances. It was said that Automatism was the only type of
surrealism accepted by critical reviews after the was (Aronson 125). The
basis of each group was a different, but their stand points remained the same,
art through the subconscienceness.
The artists in the automatists group interpreted surrealism as reffering
to a suppression of the consciousness in favor of the subconsciousness
(Alder 209). This group was more focused on feeling than analysis. They
understood automatism to be the automatic way in which the subconscious
reach the conscience (Alder 209). In plain words they didn’t focus on the
real but feelings. Their paintings were far more abstract than the veristic.
The idea of free expression of feelings had always dominated the the history
of art. The automists on the other hand wanted nothing to do with it. They
argued that images should not be burdened with “meaning”. Focusing on the
subconscious, the automatists, thought abstractionism was the only way to
bring life to images. Following the Dada tradition, these artists also linked
scandal, insult, and irrevernce toward the upper class with freedom. They
continued to believe that lack of form was a way to rebel against them.
Some famous painters in the Automatists group were: Yves Tanguy,
Roberto Matta, and Joan Miro. Join Miro was a well renowed Automatist.
He joined the surrealists in 1928. Miro treated his empty canvas as a
production. He would often work in layers, sometimes starting with washes
and applying paint with sponges. Some of his most fomous work would be:
The Ploughed Earth, The Harlequin Carnival, and Dog barking at the Moon.
“By his ‘pure psychic automatism’ Miro might ‘pass as the most surrealist of
us all.’”(Oesterreicher-Mollow, 65)
The second group of the surrealists were the Veristic surrealists. The
veristic surrealists were quite different than the automatists. As Sister Mary
Beckett had said, “they wanted to represent images as a link between the
abstract spiritual realities, and the real forms of the material world”( 287).
The veristic surrealist were much more detailed and used a lot of symbolism.
To them, an object stooh as a metaphor for something deep within them.
Through the metaphors they created, people could understand, not by
looking at objects but looking into them. The Veristic surrealist hoped to
find a way to follow the images of the subconscious until the conscience
could understand their meaning(Arnason, 341). Sister Mark Beckett also
said, “The language of the subconscious is the image, and the consciousness
had to learn to decode the language so it could translate it into its own
language of words”(288).
Their were mant famous painters who were considered veristic
surrealists. Among some of the most famous were:Salvaor Dali, Paul
Delvaux, and Max Ernst. One of the most widely known surrealist was
Salvador Dali. Dali only joined the surrealist movement at hthe end of the
1920’s. He considered the methods of the surrealism too passive, and
sought to apply his astonishing technical abilities to the unconscious and
deseased mental conditions. In 1932, he studied the writtings of Jacques
Lacan’s “On Paranoia in its Relationship to the personality” (Oesterreicher-
Mollow, 24), and developed a method which he claimed enabled him to
become mentally ill for a period, and to enduce delusions, and states of
frenzy. He read descriptions of abnormal mental conditions, combined with
problems and intuitions of his own unconscious, and painted this as a kind
of dream photography. Some of Dali’s famous paintings include: The
Temptation of Saint Anthony, The Persistence of Memory, and
Metamorphosis of Narcissus. In Dali’s painting Metamorphosis of
Narcissus, he refers to the ancient Greek myth of Narcissus. It was about a
young man who fell in love with his own reflection and was transformed into
a beautiful flower. At your first look you may only see a body of a man, but
if you look deeper, the image will become a hand holding an egg.