Fantastic Art and its Movements

Automatism and Veristic Surrealism

Joan Miro, Landscape (The Hare), 1927

Joan Miro, Landscape (The Hare) 1927

Surrealist artists used the technique of automatism to explore fear, desire, fantasy, eroticism and symbolism. They often expressed and pondered images and ideas through writing and making art. Artists who employed automatism investigated the true abstraction of their subconscious, and relied on various forms of chance art such as frottage, grottage, decalcomania, and exquisite corpse.

Frottage was a technique of rubbing graphite, crayon, or similar media over different surfaces. Transferring textures would suggest to an artist the most provocative approach to composing an image. This was a process that cultivated natural artistic expression, since the artist didn't have any control over the resulting textures.

Grottage was the same technique used in painting.

Decalcomania was a process of smearing paint over a slab of glass and pressing it against paper. Unusual results guided by chance allowed the artists to observe their ideas without controlling the process.

Finally, exquisite corpse was a Surrealist game that required writers to arrange random words into absurd sentences.

Rene Magritte, Personal Values, 1952

René Magritte, Personal Values, 1952

Veristic Surrealism or Illusionism was an opposite approach that stressed the importance of depicting the unconscious as concretely as possible. Artists stayed true to their visions, portraying them with academic realism, photographic precision, and clarity. This movement inspired a wide range of creative drives and contributions to the history of art.