Freud’s “Free Association”, Applied by Breton to Surrealist Writing and Painting

Lecture by Branko Aleksić


Wednesday, November 23 at 18 h

Library of Psychoanalysis at the Sigmund Freud Museum


Registrations are open from November 1.

André Breton, born in 1896, student of medicine from 1913, came in contact with Freud’s psychoanalysis during the First World War, when he served in the neuropsychiatric center of Saint-Dizier, in 1916. Observing in his notebook, as early as 1920, that “Freud, Charcot’s disciple, has revolutionized nowadays the mental medicine,” Breton entered into possession of the “method” that would make its way in the Surrealist Manifesto, 1924. Applying the psychoanalytical technique of automatic speech to poetry (and from 1925, to painting) was a way to free the original inspiration from the restraints of logic and censure. The visit to Freud in Vienna, on October 10th, 1921, and the continued correspondence between the two creators (1921/1937), assured Breton in his method, without completely convincing Freud himself … Until he met another Surrealist, the painter Salvador Dali, presented to him by Stefan Zweig, in London, in July 1938.


Branko Aleksić, born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Serbia, in 1951, holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Belgrade (1980), and a doctorate from the University Paris-VIII (1992). He is the author of several anthologies of Surrealist poetry and of a study on automatic writing applied to the Surrealist poetry (Poïétique, Paris, 1989).


SURREAL! Imagining New Realities - current special exhibition at the Sigmund Freud Museum