Sunday, February 19, 2012

André Breton, born Feb 19, 1896

André Breton and images, 1924 (a collage)

SURREALISM, n. Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express -- verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner -- the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.

" ...I am in no hurry to understand myself (basta! I shall always understand myself). If such and such a sentence of mine turns out to be somewhat disappointing, at least momentarily, I place my trust in the following sentence to redeem its sins; I carefully refrain from starting it over again or polishing it. The only thing that might prove fatal to me would be the slightest loss of impetus. Words, groups of words which follow one another, manifest among themselves the greatest solidarity. It is not up to me to favor one group over the other. It is up to a miraculous equivalent to intervene -- and intervene it does."

(Excerpts from the Manifesto of Surrealism Manifeste du surréalisme, 1924.

Breton was instrumental in the founding of the Bureau of Surrealist Research and was editor of the magazine La Révolution surréaliste. By the end of World War II he decided to embrace anarchism explicitly; in 1952 Breton wrote "It was in the black mirror of anarchism that surrealism first recognised itself." He lived long enough into the 1960s -- to the age of 70 -- to hear himself denounced by the Lettrist movement which followed him as "a windbag leaking 'flabby rage' hysterically trying to maintain his place in times that had passed him by: 'He offers himself, himself and his generation, to every faith, to every hope, to every boutique. One has learned not to be fooled -- and there he stands." Breton died in Paris September 18, 1966. (Image from lo-fi-topo).

No comments: