Surrealism, the great intellectual and artistic movement that dominated the 20th century, still has the power to create excitement today. Numerous exhibitions held around the world and books devoted to the subject attest to the fact that rather than being the remnant of a poetical-pictorial revolution long finished, surrealism is a fact of permanent relevance. Surrealism is a tribute to the power of the imagination, to the surprises of everyday life offered by chance or the observation of strange phenomena, to the sense of the sacred through cosmic mysteries and to any marvel of creation captured by an artist and enhanced by inspiration. We see how surrealist painting, through its abundant originality of spirit and technique, was at the center of modern art’s struggle.
In the 21st century, we now have irrefutable proof that surrealism was the most important movement in art and poetry of the preceding century, one that will enjoy its longevity for some time to come. It was to surrealism, rather than to its adversaries or rivals, that the Centre Georges-Pompidou paid tribute, in 2002, with the retrospective The Surrealist Revolution. And at the same institution, in a 2006 exhibition devoted to Dada—in some sense a prelude to surrealism—we saw confirmation that such models of dissident creativity were capable of having the same powerful effect on audiences today as yesterday. More significantly, there are still here and there pockets of militant surrealists, whose gatherings and events point the way to future prospects. The International Surrealism Convention, held in June 2006, brought together sixty-three speakers, mostly from Europe or the United States, working together over the course of two weeks to evaluate surrealist thought and action. Other such conferences or group exhibits on surrealism would follow to the extent that rather than being the persistent memory of a bygone poetical-pictorial revolution, it is a fact of permanent relevance.