Founded by the poet André Breton in 1924, Surrealism was a 20th-century avant-garde movement. It set out to confront and break down constraints of the rational mind and release the artists’ full creative potential. Surrealist artwork is characterised by provocative and unrestrained visuals, juxtaposed imagery and unusual assemblages of ordinary objects.
Photography secured a central role in Surrealist activity for its ability to capture the material world in obscure and abstract ways. Methods such as photomontage and solarisation work perfectly to evoke dream-like symbolism such as in works by Erik Brede and Anita Rozentale.
Likewise, the use of rotation and distortion of ordinary objects or subjects to fabricate uncanny images was, and still is, a popular technique to express the surrealist ideology. This can be seen in the distorted landscape shots by Eleanor Cunningham.
Among our selection of Surrealist Photographers, you can buy limited-edition photographs by Peter Horvath. Peter deconstructs and recontextualizes imagery through collage techniques, such as in the colourful CORNFLAKES.
Contemporary artist Jaykoe explores themes of globalisation and its impact on city space. His surrealist photographs, such as the grayscale City Distortions VI, are a Daliesque blend of architecture and culture.
In contrast, Yannis Guibinga creates striking portraits with rich, saturated colours as seen in Red Woman. Yannis’ bold and often unearthly photographs explore the diversity in African identities, touching on themes of gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.
Alternatively, Iranian artist Heja Rahiminia manipulates Black and White photographs to call attention to social and political inequality. For example, his aerial landscape shot, Looking For Utopia: Refugees (10), is taken from a series examining themes of displaced bodies and migration.