Frontispiece by Salvador Dali for L’immaculée Conception by André Breton and Paul Éluard, 1930
Illustration from an album of work for La Révolution surréaliste by René Magritte, André Masson, Alberto Giacometti and Paul Klee, 1930
“All I know is that this substitution of persons stops with
you, because nothing
can be substituted for you, and because for me it was for all
eternity that this
succession of terrible and charming enigmas was to come to
an end at your feet.
You are not an enigma for me.
I say that you have turned me from enigmas forever.” — André Breton, Nadja
Marcel Mariën, 42 collages on a copy of André Breton’s Nadja 1938
“I must point out that for the first time during this discussion the word ‘pathological’ has been brought up. That seems to suggest that some of us believe in the idea of the normal man. I object to this idea.” —
Louis Aragon, in reply to Andre Breton, from Investigating Sex
Man Ray, Waking Dream Séance (image first published on the cover of La revolution surrealiste, 01/12/24). The seated woman is Simone Breton; standing around her (from left to right) are Max Morise, Roger Vitrac, Jacques André-Boiffard, André Breton, Paul Eluard, Pierre Naville, Giorgio de Chirico, Philippe Soupault, Jacques Baron, and Robert Desnos.
Walter Benjamin writes:
Any serious exploration of occult, surrealistic, phantasmagoric gifts and phenomena presupposes a dialectical intertwinement to which a romantic turn of mind is impervious. For histrionic or fanatical stress on the mysterious side of the mysterious takes us no further; we penetrate the mystery only to the degree that we recognize it in the everyday world, by virtue of a dialectical optic that perceives the everyday as impenetrable, the impenetrable as everyday. The most passionate investigation of telepathic phenomena, for example, will not teach us half as much about reading (which is an eminently telepathic process), as the profane illumination of reading about telepathic phenomena. And the most passionate investigation of the hashish trance will not teach us half as much about thinking (which is eminently narcotic), as the profane illumination of thinking about the hashish trance. The reader, the thinker, the loiterer, the flâneur, are types of illuminati just as much as the opium eater, the dreamer, the ecstatic. And more profane. Not to mention that most terrible drug—ourselves—which we take in solitude.
Cover for André Breton’s Spojité nadoby by Toyen, 1934
Cadavre Exquis (Untitled) by André Breton, Gala, Salvador Dalí, and Valentine Hugo, 1932
“It is true of Surrealist images as it of opium images that man does not evoke them; rather they come to him spontaneously, despotically. He cannot chase them away; for the will is powerless now and no longer controls the faculties.” — André Breton, First Surrealist Manifesto
André Breton - Egg in the church or The Snake, Musée d’Ixelles, Belgium, n.d.
Ses yeux de fougère… by André Breton for Nadja, Paris, Gallimard, 1964
Union Libre by Léon Ferrari, 2004 (poem by André Breton embossed in Braille on a photograph)
Vitrine de New York décorée par Marcel Duchamp pour la sortie de la revue Arcane majeure dirigiée par André Breton, 1945
“Everything tends to make us believe that there exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradictions.” — André Breton, Second Manifesto of Surrealism, 1930
Unión libre by León Ferrari, 2004 (a poem by André Breton embossed in Braille on a photograph)