Automatic

DEFINITION

Automatic writing was a technique first used by the Dada and Surrealist artists in the early 20th century, to tap into their subconscious to write poetry (Freud's ideas on the subconscious had been introduced in the early part of the 20th century). They would try to connect with their subconscious to access a 'stream of consciousness,' or more 'free' type of poetry. Visual artists in these movements also tried to draw or paint "automatically," by allowing their subconscious to play a large part in the creative process. The Abstract Expressionists of the 1940's and '50's also used this method, for example, Jackson Pollock's "drip" paintings.

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