Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members.
Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact. Leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement.
Surrealism developed out of the Dada activities of World War I and the most important center of the movement was Paris. From the 1920s on, the movement spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film, and music, of many countries and languages, as well as political thought and practice, philosophy and social theory. click here for full wikipedia article
In the Begining
Surrealism as we know it today is closely related to some forms of abstract art. In fact, they shared similar origins, but they diverged on their interpretation of what those origins meant to the aesthetic of art.
At the end of the First War World, Tristan Tzara, leader of the Dada movement, wanted to attack society through scandal. He believed that a society that creates the monstrosity of war does not deserve art, so he decided to give it anti-art–not beauty but ugliness. With phrases like Dada destroys everything! Tzara wanted to offend the new industrial commercial world–the bourgeoisie. However, his intended victims were not insulted at all. Instead they thought that this rebellious new expression opposed, not them but the “old art” and the “old patrons” of feudalism and church dominion. In fact, the bourgeoisie embraced this “rebellious” new art so thoroughly that anti-art became Art, the anti-academy the Academy, the anti-conventionalism the Convention, and the rebellion through chaotic images, the status quo click here for full article