Existentialism and surrealism are two of the most influential movements in the history of art and philosophy. Although they emerged in different fields, they share several similarities that connect them. In this article, we will explore the connection between existentialism and surrealism.

What is Existentialism?

Existentialism is a philosophical movement that originated in the 19th century. It emphasizes individual freedom and choice, as well as the search for meaning and purpose in life. Existentialists believe that humans have to create their own values and make their own decisions without relying on external sources.

What is Surrealism?

Surrealism is an artistic movement that emerged in the 1920s. It was characterized by its use of dreamlike images, irrationality, and a rejection of conventional artistic techniques. Surrealists aimed to explore the unconscious mind and bring forth hidden desires and fears.

The Connection Between Existentialism and Surrealism

Existentialist philosophy heavily influenced surrealism. Both movements reject traditional values and question reality. They both explore the depths of human emotions, desires, fears, and dreams.

One of the key themes in surrealism is the rejection of reason and logic. Surrealist artists believed that by tapping into their unconscious minds, they could create art that was more authentic than anything produced through reason or logic alone. In a similar vein, existentialists believe that individuals must go beyond reason to find meaning in life.

Additionally, both existentialists and surrealists were interested in exploring new ways of looking at reality. They sought to challenge popular perceptions about what was possible or real. This led to works of art that were often strange or unsettling but also deeply thought-provoking.


In conclusion, existentialism and surrealism are two movements with several similarities that connect them. Both movements emphasize the importance of individual freedom, and both explore the depths of human emotions.

Surrealism’s rejection of reason and logic aligns with existentialism’s belief that individuals must go beyond reason to find meaning in life. The connection between these two movements has had a profound impact on art and philosophy, and their influence can still be seen today.