Surrealist automatism


Surrealist automatism

Automatism has taken on many forms: the automatic writing and drawing initially (and still to this day) practiced by surrealists can be compared to similar, or perhaps parallel phenomena, such as the non-idiomatic improvisation of free jazz [http://www.autonomedia.org/surrealistsubversions/review.html] .

Surrealist automatism is different from mediumistic automatism, from which the term was inspired. Ghosts, spirits or the like are not purported to be the source of surrealist automatic messages.

Origins

"Pure psychic automatism" was how André Breton defined surrealism, and while the definition has proved capable of significant expansion, automatism remains of prime importance in the movement.

In 1919 Breton and Philippe Soupault wrote the first automatic book, "Les Champs Magnétiques", while "The Automatic Message" (1933) was one of Breton's significant theoretical works about automatism.

urautomatism

Some Romanian surrealists invented a number of surrealist techniques (such as cubomania, entoptic graphomania, and the movement of liquid down a vertical surface) that purported to take automatism to an absurd point, and the name given, "surautomatism", implies that the methods "go beyond" automatism, but this position is controversial.

Automatic drawing

Automatic drawing (distinguished from drawn expression of mediums) was developed by the surrealists, as a means of expressing the subconscious. In automatic drawing, the hand is allowed to move 'randomly' across the paper. In applying chance and accident to mark-making, drawing is to a large extent freed of rational control. Hence the drawing produced may be attributed in part to the subconscious and may reveal something of the psyche, which would otherwise be repressed. Examples of automatic drawing were produced by mediums and practitioners of the psychic arts. It was thought by some Spiritualists to be a spirit control that was producing the drawing whilst physically taking control of the medium's body.

Automatic drawing was pioneered by André Masson. Artists who practised automatic drawing include Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Jean Arp and André Breton. The technique was transferred to painting (as seen in Miró's paintings which often started out as automatic drawings), and has been adapted to other media; there have even been automatic "drawings" in computer graphics. Pablo Picasso was also thought to have expressed a type of automatic drawing in his later work, and particularly in his etchings and lithographic suites of the 1960s.

Most of the surrealists' automatic drawings were illusionistic, or more precisely, they developed into such drawings when representational forms seemed to suggest themselves. In the 1940s and 1950s the French-Canadian group called Les Automatistes pursued creative work (chiefly painting) based on surrealist principles. They abandoned any trace of representation in their use of automatic drawing. This is perhaps a more pure form of automatic drawing since it can be almost entirely involuntary - to develop a representational form requires the conscious mind to take over the process of drawing, unless it is entirely accidental and thus incidental. These artists, led by Paul-Emile Borduas, sought to proclaim an entity of universal values and ethics proclaimed in their manifesto "Refus Global".

As alluded to above, surrealist artists often found that their use of 'automatic drawing' was not entirely automatic, rather it involved some form of conscious intervention to make the image or painting visually acceptable or comprehensible, "...Masson admitted that his 'automatic' imagery involved a two-fold process of unconscious and conscious activity...." [The Surrealists: Revolutionaries in art & writing 1919-1935, Jemma Montagu, page 15]

Automatic mathematics

Some surrealists write automatic "equations," though technically speaking they aren't really equations.

Contemporary techniques

The computer, like the typewriter, can be used to produce automatic writing and automatic poetry. The practice of automatic drawing, originally performed with pencil or pen and paper, has also been adapted to mouse and monitor, and other automatic methods have also been either adapted from non-digital media, or invented specifically for the computer. For instance, filters have been automatically run in some bitmap editor programs such as Photoshop and The GIMP, and computer-controlled brushes have been used to "simulate" automatism. [ [http://www.verostko.com/gallery.html Pathway Studio Gallery ] ] One of the newest applications of this approach is a Dynamic Painting by San Base.

ee also

*Cut-up technique
*Rhythmic art

Footnotes

External links

* [http://www.usc.edu/schools/annenberg/asc/projects/comm544/library/images/322.html An automatic drawing] by Jean Arp
* [http://www.biroco.com/automatic.htm "What is an automatic drawing?"]
* [http://www.cjmorgan.com/automatic-drawing/automatic-drawing.htm Automatic Drawing]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Surrealist automatism — or Surrealist automatism, to be more specific, is an artistic technique of spontaneous writing, drawing, or the like practiced without conscious aesthetic or moral self censorship …   Mini philosophy glossary

  • Automatism — may refer to:*Automatic behavior, spontaneous verbal or motor behavior; an act performed unconsciously. Defendants have been found innocent due to an automatism defense (e.g., homicide while sleepwalking). *Automatism (law), a defence to… …   Wikipedia

  • Surrealist techniques — Surrealism Surrealist Manifesto Surrealist cinema Surrealist music Surrealist techniques Surrealism in art, poetry, and literature uses numerous techniques and games to provide inspiration. Many of these are said to free imagination by producing… …   Wikipedia

  • Automatism — or Surrealist automatism, to be more specific, is an artistic technique of spontaneous writing, drawing, or the like practiced without conscious aesthetic or moral self censorship …   Mini philosophy glossary

  • Surrealist music — is music which uses unexpected juxtapositions and other surrealist techniques. Anne LeBaron (2002, p.27) cites automatism, including improvisation, and collage as the primary techniques of musical surrealism. Discussing Theodor Adorno, Max… …   Wikipedia

  • automatism — [ô täm′ə tiz΄əm] n. [ AUTOMAT(IC) + ISM] 1. the quality or condition of being automatic 2. automatic action 3. Philos. the theory that the human or animal body is a machine governed by physical laws and that consciousness does not control but… …   English World dictionary

  • automatism — automatist, n., adj. /aw tom euh tiz euhm/, n. 1. the action or condition of being automatic; mechanical or involuntary action. 2. Philos. the doctrine that all activities of animals, or of humans and animals, are entirely controlled by physical… …   Universalium

  • Surrealist Manifesto — Surrealism Surrealist Manifesto Surrealist cinema Surrealist music Surrealist techniques Two Surrealist Manifestos were issued by the Surrealist movement, in 1924 and 1929. The first was written by André Breton, the second was supervised by him.… …   Wikipedia

  • automatism — noun Etymology: French automatisme, from automate automaton, from Latin automaton Date: 1838 1. a. the quality or state of being automatic b. an automatic action 2. the moving or functioning (as of an organ, tissue, or a body part) without… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • automatism — /ɔˈtɒmətɪzəm/ (say aw tomuhtizuhm) noun 1. action or condition of being automatic; mechanical or involuntary action. 2. Philosophy the doctrine that all activities of animals, including humans, are controlled only by physiological causes,… …   Australian English dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.