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Surrealism – The Marvellous, the Occult, and the Paranoid.

Shea Robert

“The marvellous is always beautiful, anything that is marvellous is beautiful; indeed, nothing but the marvellous is beautiful.”[1]

At the most basic level we can see that André Bréton is talking about the unconscious in representation when he writes about the “marvellous.” But if we look further and spend the time to understand, we can see it means more than just closing your eyes and painting the first thing that comes to mind. We come to find that “Far beyond the dull colours of the real, as the young Surrealists perceived them, stretched this glorious uncontrollable openness, as far as the mind could reach.”[2]

In the early days of the Surrealist movement, while working in a neurological ward “Bréton …was profoundly affected by his observation of shell-shocked patients who had been invalided from the Front. Many were suffering from hallucinations and paranoid delusions, leading them to question the…

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