Surrealism and Futurism

Both the Surrealist and Futurist Manifestos preach straying from the conventional and praising the artist. Written by F.T Marinetti in 1909, the Futurist Manifesto is a rejection of the past and a celebration of the present. It glorifies war, danger, and speed. Although it is an Italian document, It almost foreshadows the upcoming Russian Revolution with all the talk of crowds, revolt, militarism, and patriotism. The manifesto is in essence looking forward to the modern state. All the “speed” that Marinetti is writing about can be interpreted as the desire for increased industrial output. In addition, the artist is painted as someone who must write and paint about courage and audacity rather than “sleeplessness.”The manifesto is looking for a world where work and revolt are praised, and history is left behind. This is a world not too far off.

The Surrealist Manifesto is similar in a sense that it wants to contradict the conventional. It also gives power to the artist. Surrealism, as defined by the Andre Breton in 1925, the writer of the manifesto, is “total liberation of the mind.” They are like the futurists determined to make a revolution. These manifestos represent the rocky ground European society is resting on. The Surrealist Manifesto contradicts  the emergence of reasonable thought. Its aim is to express the real function of thought. However, it is not clear what they believed the real function of thought was.  With this, what was the purpose of thought to the Surrealists? In addition, why was the artist so highly praised in this era? Was it their ability to influence society and change so much, or for some other reason?

2 thoughts on “Surrealism and Futurism

  1. I feel that Surrealists viewed thought, particularly rational thought, as just one avenue of artistic expression. Surrealism seems to interpret the world as being composed of countless simultaneous realities that are the products of each artist’s own interpretation. It is for this reason, perhaps, that the artist was regarded so highly by proponents of this movement; artists alone possessed the agency to become the architects of their own realities.

  2. While this blog does a good job at summarizing, it fails to contextualize surrealism and futurism. The details are phenomenal in this bit, but it could use better questions at the end. In their current state, they do not really add anything to the conversation, but rather confuse the reader as to the author’s intent.

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