What Is Freud’s Unconscious Theory and How Is It Applied in the Art Work of Dada/ Surrealist Artists?

1980 words 8 pages
What is Freud’s unconscious theory and how is it applied in the art work of Dada/ surrealist artists?

Sigmund Freud was a Jewish Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis. Freud went on to develop theories about the unconscious mind. The concept of the unconscious theory was central to Freud’s ideas of the human mind. He first introduced his ideas around the unconscious theory when trying to explain what happens to ideas that are repressed but remain in the mind.

In Freud’s original outline of the main principles to the theory, he believed the mind was made up of 3 systems – the unconscious, preconscious, and the conscious. The unconscious part of the mind is made up of hidden desires, impulses or
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Artists were influenced by Freud’s Theory of the Unconscious and drew upon the private world of the mind, to create surprising and unexpected imagery that sometimes was even juxtaposed and erotically charged. Often these artworks would have deep symbolism and a disregard for convention. These are all aspects of the unconscious mind.

Salvador Dali was a representational surrealist artist and in 1929 created an art work called ‘The Great Masturbator’.

This painting is predominately about fertility and pleasure. The gradual shades in the sky represent different times of the day, which portrays the idea that pleasure is on the mind at all times of the time. The sexual nature of this work is influenced by Dali’s childhood as he was exposed at a young age to graphic images of genital disease. This begun his fear and loathing of sex. This is one of the reasons it is evident that there is a relationship between this painting and Freud’s Theory of the Unconscious because the unconscious mind contains hidden phobias and desires and this painting includes some of Dali’s hidden fears and sexual thoughts. Another reason this painting suggests that there is a link between Freud’s theory of the Unconscious is that Dali had a childhood phobia of locusts and in the painting on the dominant image of Dali’s head, a locust is depicted covering Dali’s mouth. This suggests his fear of losing control and loss

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