For the most part, we find ourselves living in two separate worlds: the one that is real and the one we dream up. But sometimes, life throws us unexpected gifts of making our imaginations as authentic as experiences in our daily lives. From hazy landscapes to lobster-shaped telephones to impossibly absurd occurrences, we can witness these scenarios in real life. Does that sound a bit surreal?
You bet it does! Allow us to introduce you to one spectacular corner on Facebook called ‘Accidental Surrealism’. Although the admins of the group state that the “name is descriptive enough”, the photos are anything but. This art and photography-loving community has set out to share reality-defying examples of things, animals, and people they found by accident, and we can’t seem to get enough.
To show you what we mean, our team at Bored Panda has scoured the community and gathered some of the best pictures to share with you all. So sit back, hold on tight, and try to stay grounded as we’re about to ride down to fantasy land. Upvote the pictures you enjoyed most, and let us know what you think of them in the comments!
Psst! For more seemingly unearthly wonders, check out our earlier piece on another community with the same name right here.
Facebook may not be the first place many people look for examples of the unreal, but the ‘Accidental Surrealism’ group is bound to shake things up. Since the page was created in 2020, it has amassed over 128k members eagerly waiting for the new dreamlike posts to grace their feeds. It’s safe to assume that people become a part of this community to blur the line between fantasy and reality, to see just how quirky and unusual the world truly is.
Speaking of the draw of ‘Accidental Surrealism’, the oddities are definitely part of the appeal. Places like this are a great way to witness strange or captivating images that are always interesting for us to look at. One reason behind this is that we rarely meet these examples in our everyday life. Another element that contributes to our fascination is that we simply want to understand them.
Unusual occurrences coupled with our imaginations are often too intense for words, so our efforts to uncover the meaning is what keeps our mind busy. Because sometimes, we feel stuck in our day-to-day lives, and seemingly otherworldly images entertain, provoke, and mesmerize us whenever we come into contact with the extraordinary.
Of course, this art movement is instantly recognizable for its dreamy qualities. But while enjoying all of these beautiful images, let’s take a moment to learn more about the origins and the meaning of surrealism, shall we?
According to an article on Tate, a network of four art galleries in the UK, surrealism is a twentieth-century literary, philosophical and artistic movement that explored the inner workings of the mind and the subconscious. It aimed to champion the irrational and the poetic and to revolutionize the human experience. Or, in other words, “It balances a rational vision of life with one that asserts the power of the unconscious and dreams.”
The movement swept the art world by storm. Surrealist artists like Salvador Dalí, Rene Magritte, and Max Ernst sought to channel the unconscious to unlock their creativity and freedom. Influenced by psychoanalysis, they found magic and strange beauty in the unexpected, the uncanny, the unreasonable, the disregarded, and the irrational. This way, they shocked us, the viewers, out of our comforting assumptions, values, and norms.
The term comes from the French surréalisme, which translates into English as “super-realism”. While it was first coined by the French avant-garde poet Guillaume Apollinaire in the preface to a play, it was André Breton, a leader of a new grouping of poets and artists in Paris, who made it stick.
In his Surrealist Manifesto (1924), Breton defined surrealism as: “Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.”
Bored Panda previously had a chat with art gallery director and art expert Shelby Bercume, from Florida, who enlightened us about the success of one of the most prominent names in the surrealist universe, Dalí. “The popularity of Dalí, mostly due to his wife Gala’s business sense, is what makes surrealism so recognizable. It had significant exposure to people that otherwise wouldn’t have known what it is,” she explained how the artist became widely known.
“Dalí’s popularity was also due to his eccentric behavior and incredibly famous friends coupled with the time,” Shelby added. “Basically, all the ingredients were there for Dalí to take flight, and surrealism was thrust into the spotlight as part of a consequence.”
Surrealist art, photography, and literature can be a lot to take in, as they aim to depict alternative realities and unlock ideas by diving deeper into the unconscious mind. But in the last few years, reality itself has become a bit more surreal, inviting strange, dreamy, and otherworldly imagery into our daily lives. If this artistic movement is a glitch in the status quo where real life becomes seemingly unrecognizable, then it’s easy to see parallels between the 1920s and now.
“We are finally emerging from years of experiencing harsh realities we could never have fathomed. Our entire world shut down, we’ve seen some very ugly sides of humanity and when reality becomes too real, that’s when we need to escape to fantasy,” artist Carmen Ellis told Eyeswoon.com.
“Surrealism is breaking free from rules and structures, breaking free from the logical world. After years of rules and confinement, we are craving the escape that is surrealism.”
The merging of the absurd with our reality delivers an unexpected dose of optimism and brings some lively fantasy to our current environments. No wonder the art world recently started utilizing surrealism in design to add more beauty and mystery. “Even after almost 100 years of changing times, surrealism at its core remains the same. It still seeks to reawaken the imagination, to inspire, to shake us out of our everyday world and ways of confined thinking,” Ellis said.
“Surrealism helps us to shift perspectives, teaches us to revel in the unknown and to find wonder in the strange, it expands our realm of possibility beyond all limitations.”
Burning Man playa at night
Note: this post originally had 71 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.