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Introduction: Surrealism’s Critical Legacy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 July 2021

Natalya Lusty
Affiliation:
University of Melbourne
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Summary

The introductory chapter traces Surrealism’s critical legacy across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. From its initial emergence out of Dada in 1924, Surrealism became a defining critical and creative concept, and not only for the avant-garde movement penned in its name. It inspired a range of critical enterprises and creative practices, including: Walter Benjamin’s anthropological investigation of the everyday material world; the politics and aesthetics of a number of anticolonial enterprises; James Clifford’s investigations of the ethnographic ambitions of dissident surrealism; the political events of May ’68; the October group’s recalibration of Greenberg’s aesthetic formalism; and, more recently, Surrealism’s influence on new materialism, thing theory, animal/human studies, affect theory, and a plethora of contemporary participatory art movements. Described by Maurice Blanchot as “a brilliant obsession,” Surrealism continues to exert a profound rethinking of the relationship between art, politics, and everyday experience.

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Surrealism , pp. 1 - 28
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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