surrealism and freud

rené magritte, je ne vois pas la [femme] cachée dans la forêt (i don’t see the [woman] hidden in the forest), 1929. surrealism was intimately linked to freud’s theory of psychoanalysis. surrealists were inspired by freud’s delineation of the unconscious as a realm quite apart from the conscious, yet integral in informing conscious thought and behavior. the unconscious became a way for surrealists to explore the underside of modernity (the erotic, the bizarre, the incongruent) and woman became the organizing metaphor of their creative philosophy. woman was a sign for desire, for what is hidden, for the “other”. for surrealists, woman embodied psychic force and therefore she represented “the most beautiful protest” against the rational, functional, repressive order of modern society. in magritte’s painting/photomontage, woman is at the center of male dreams. she is surrounded by photographs of the surrealist group with their eyes closed. she is also plainly a sign for latent fantasies as she replaces the word femme (or woman) – she personifies that which is not manifest.

rené magritte, je ne vois pas la [femme] cachée dans la forêt