before the night conceived the stars • before the dawn • before the eyes deceived us all
Surrealist automatism is a method of art making in which the artist suppresses conscious control over the making process, allowing the unconscious mind to have great sway. Early 20th century Dadaists, such as Hans Arp, made some use of this method through chance operations.
Automatism has taken on many forms: the automatic writing and drawing initially (and still to this day) explored by the surrealists can be compared to similar or parallel phenomena, such as the non-idiomatic improvisation. “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.
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.
here are just a few examples of many: any new ones are posted on the blog.