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Surrealism, what exactly does it mean?

For my next project in art, my teacher wants us to do a surrealistic piece. I am still clueless about what it is because all of the web sites that have definitions say the same thing. It’s a way to mix conscious with the subconscious mind; now what exactly does that mean?
so what about a flashlight as the sun. a whale jumping out of the clouds, or a hat that os turning into a bird? do these sound surrealistic?


  1. mixing real with un-real is what it means. Almost fantasy art is the best way to describe. Google Salvador Dali. That might help.
    Remember to clean your room!

  2. Fantasy art is exactly right. :]
    Here are some by the book definitions:
    A 20th-century literary and artistic movement that attempts to express the workings of the subconscious and is characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject matter.
    Another definition:
    a modern movement in art and literature, in which an attempt is made to portray or interpret the workings of the unconscious mind as manifested in dreams: it is characterized by an irrational, fantastic arrangement of material

  3. Fantasy art is NOT an ideal description!!
    A somewhat textbookish description is: “Surrealism uses visual imagery from the subconscious mind to create art without logic.”
    As in, surrealists would paint the unrealistic images from their dreams, in a very realistic way. Quite unsettling really!

  4. Surreal is un-real real. It is reality with the unreality of dreams. Do a Google Image Search for Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, René Magritte, and Max Ernst. Look at their artworks, and identify the “real” objects that are warped and distorted, and given a strange and SURREAL existence on canvas.
    Pick an article of clothing you are wearing right now, a piece of furniture in your living room, and something in your favorite color. Create a composition using all three, making an opposite change in one (hard to soft, table turned into chair, a blue apple), emphasizing one (repeating pattern, background echo image, color areas, size), and giving one “Life” (human features, positioned or shaped like a human figure). That would be a surreal image.

  5. MOZ has given you a pretty good description. I can only simplify it by saying that surrealism is putting ordinary, everyday items out of context.


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