11.02.2020
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Salvador Dali exhibition through the Curator’s eyes

A win-win combination for the immortal glory

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On January, 28, the large exhibition “Salvador Dali. Magical art ” opened its doors to the public in Moscow Manege. Everyone, like Elvis Presley, knows him. Thanks to bewitching paintings, mustache sharp as rapiers and a laid-back walk with an anteater. Painter, graphic artist, fashion designer, sculptor, performer and animator, he staged the ballet “Mad Tristan” and painted the ChupaChups logo, without changing himself.

Monsa Ager, the director of the Dali Museum, helped us to understand better the blossoming complexity of the creator.

In search of immortality

I would call Dali a true universal creator: an artist, graphic artist, sculptor, someone who can translate reality into a completely different plane. But first of all, he is a painter. Interested in classicism, the Renaissance, science, mysticism, he was able to achieve a triumph in surrealism, but did not stop there. He worked with well-known fashion houses, painted the covers of magazines and created jewelry.

He was a humble man who understood that creating a shocking image was simply necessary for his art. All his life, a struggle of becoming as good as his brother, followed him. His name was also Salvador (he died nine months before the birth of the future artist). In his autobiography, Salvador Dali wrote that he had been searching for real faith all his life, but never found a suitable one. Science gave more answers, considering that the artist aspired to immortality. And working on his art, he earned the immortality.

Dali’s secret is kept in the ability to reflect the anxieties of people, their dreams and fears in a very realistic way. When you look at the work of Salvador, you always see elements that cause discomfort, it is impossible to look at them calmly. So, the artist provokes the viewer to play a game. He arouses curiosity. At first glance, it seems that everything is clear in the picture, but then we go deeper and deeper into this tricky game, noticing all the new elements, details and symbols. As a result, the artist leads us into this complex maze and leaves us alone with ourselves and our thoughts. And whether you get out of this labyrinth or not, it is up you.

Symbols

Clock is a favorite Dali’s symbol. The artist was fascinated by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The shape of the clock in his work is fluid and unstable. It shows the master’s interest in the contrast between the soft and hard state of the object.

The Persistence of Memory, 1931
The Persistence of Memory, 1931

The perspective plays a very important role in all Dali’s works. It is an indicator of both time and the depth of a person’s subconscious.

Double images are constantly hidden on his canvases. Perhaps most often they appear as a self-portrait of the artist. This is probably a type of narcissism: Dali was constantly ill in childhood, so he was given a lot of attention – family, doctors, relatives – he still had a need for constant care until his death.

The Invisible Man, 1929-1933
The Invisible Man, 1929-1933

A face with an airplane is the image of a just dropped atomic bomb, which instantly explodes in the right corner, right next to a clock twisted into a tube and a human figure. It instantly affects the world, the passage of time and a human life. Other watches are leaning against the head. They flow down, hinting that the idea of the length of time after the appearance of the atomic bomb has changed.

Melancholy Atomic, 1945
Melancholy Atomic, 1945

Tears, a sad blue face and shadows demonstrate the artist’s attempt to find a place for his art in a new world.

Cracked elements such as vases, clocks, columns represent unbearable human pain.

Color and the turn of the head are homage to Diego Velazquez. Dali turned to his works quite often in the last period of the career.

Seated Figure Contemplating a 'Great Tapeworm Masturbator', 1981
Seated Figure Contemplating a ‘Great Tapeworm Masturbator’, 1981

Vertical figures in the background are cypress trees, which the hero of the picture (presumably Salvador Dali himself) reproduces from his childhood memories. He saw them through the window at school.

The male figure on the left – Dali himself, young, twenty-year-old. His whole life is yet to come. Light stripes symbolize good memories from life, dark ones – awareness of the inevitable end.

Portrait of Gala with Rhinocerotic Symptoms, 1954
Portrait of Gala with Rhinocerotic Symptoms, 1954

Recognizable features of Gala can also be considered as a certain symbol – inexhaustible love, passion, inspiration and sex. They appear in his works throughout his entire life – sometimes with a naked torso, then with a portrait, sometimes she is only taken apart into elements – but Gala is always recognizable.

 

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