Selected Definitions from The Dictionary of Surrealism.

APHRODISIAC TELEPHONE. Telephonic apparatuses will be replaced by lobsters, whose advanced state will be rendered visible by phosphorescent plaques, vertible flytrap truffle-grounds. (Salvador Dali)

ASSASSINATION. The tranquillity of past and future assassinations. (Max Ernst)

BREAST. The breast is the chest elevated to the state of mystery – the chest moralised. (Novalis)

BREAST-PLATE. The breast-plate is a sort of child who grows between the sex of a hat and the sex of shoes. If you embrace your own image in the mirror, the breast-plate makes a foot of your nose and a hand of your nose. (Hans Arp)

CHANCE. Pickled chance. (Marcel Duchamp) Chance would be the form of manifestation of exterior necessity that prepares the way into human unconsciousness. (Andre Breton) Chance is the master of humour. (Max Ernst)

CHIRICO, Giorgio de. Born in 1888, in Greece, of Italian parents. Pre-surrealist painter. The most amazing painter of this time. (Apollinaire, 1914) If this man had some courage he would have tired long ago of that game of making fun of his lost genius. (Andre Breton, 1928) Heir of Böcklin and of imaginative painting in general, Chirico sensationally revolutionises anecdote and also the subject in the manner of and in circumstances proper to the surrealist revolution in the realm of imagination. (Salvador Dali) The pictorial work of Chirico claimed by Surrealism came to a halt in 1918. Since then one owes him for nothing but the publication of an admirable prose work: Hebdomeros (1929).

COLLAGE. If it is plumes that make plumage, it is not the glue that makes a gluing. (Max Ernst) It is something like the alchemy of the visual image. The miracle of total transfiguration of beings and objects with or without modification of their physical or anatomical appearance. (Max Ernst)

DELAY. Use ‘delay’ instead of picture or painting. A delay in glass as one would say a poem in prose or a spittoon in silver. (Marcel Duchamp)

DOLL. Would it not be in the doll which, despite its accommodating and limitless docility, would surround itself with a desperate reserve, would it not be in the doll’s very reality that the imagination would find the joy, exaltation and fear it sought? Would it not be the final triumph over those adolescents with wide eyes turning away if, beneath the conscious stare that plunders their charms, the aggressive fingers were to assail their plastic form and construct slowly, limb by limb all that had seen appropriated by the senses and the brain? (Hans Bellmer)

FILM. Principal Surrealist films: Emak Bakia (1926), The Starfish (1928) by Man Ray; Anaemic Cinema (1925) by Marcel Duchamp; The Pearl (1929) by Georges Hugnet; The Andalusian Dog (1929), The Golden Age (1931) by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali. What can be expected of Surrealism and what could be expected of a certain cinema called comic, is all that deserves to be considered. (Salvador Dali)

FROTTAGE. Process discovered by Max Ernst, August 19, 1925 – The process of collage resting only on the intensification of the irritability of the spiritual faculties by appropriate and technical means, excluding all conscious mental conduction, reducing to an extreme the active part of what has up till now been called the ‘author,’ this process is revealed as the veritable equivalent of automatic writing. (Max Ernst)

GLOVE. The glove [gant] is worn by a gantleman. The glove is the cast of a head pierced, through which the index finger passes to tickle new nature. (Hans Arp)

LOVE. Everything leads us to believe that love would be only a sort of incarnation of dreams corroborating the usual expression which wishes the loved woman to be a dream made flesh. (Salvador Dali)

OBJECT. Ready-mades and assisted ready-mades, objects chosen or composed, beginning in 1914, by Marcel Duchamp, constituting the first Surrealist objects. In 1924, in the Introduction to the Discourse on the Slightness of Reality, Andre Breton proposed to fabricate and put in circulation certain of those objects one perceives only in dreams (oneiric object). In 1930 Salvador Dali constructs and defines an object with symbolic functionings (object which lends itself to a minimum of mechanical functioning and which is based on the phantasms and representations susceptible to being provoked by the realization of unconscious acts). Objects with symbolic functionings were envisaged following the mobile and silent objects: Giacometti’s suspended ball which reunited all the essential principles of the preceding definition, but still retained the methods proper to sculpture. On the passage of Surrealism, a fundamental crisis of the object was produced. Only the very attentive examination


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