|Trotsky, Rivera, Bretón. México, 1938.|
Trotsky, Breton and Rivera reclaim the revolutionary potential of art.
Excerpts from André Breton in Mexico: Surrealist Visions of an “Independent Revolutionary” Landscape by Nathaniel Hooper Zingg, BA:
In his first 1924 manifesto, Breton defines “surrealism” as “psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express [...] the actual functioning of thought” (26). The “automatic writer” is a mere “recording vessel” logging whatever might emerge (by chance) from an unimpeded flow of (unconscious) images (27-8). But even in the first manifesto, not everything that results from this mere “recording” exercise is equally potent: the most “surreal” moments are disruptive, jarring juxtapositions of two very different images. A surrealist “metaphor” is an uncanny clash, a logically irreconcilable combination of seemingly random ephemera.
Metaphor’s process of conjoining “distant realities” constitutes a type of “alchemy” for Breton (see Balakian 34). As Anna Balakian has noted, surrealist metaphor is not about finding “correspondences” between this “world” and a more perfect one of forms as in the philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg and the symbolist writings of Charles Baudelaire (35). Rather, the coming-together of objects from “logically unrelated” spheres is more akin to a generative process of metamorphosis; these fragments of reality, in their surrealist juxtaposition, “become something else:” an alchemical reaction (Balakian 36).