“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” Those are the words of Salvador Dali and after reading ‘Entering the Lair of Salvador Dali in Figueres’ written by a fellow ex-pat living here in Tenerife I feel that gives me leeway to add my two penn’orth for what it’s worth! Besides which didn’t Dali produce illustrations that made that obnoxious child Alice so popular and paint me, sweet little ole Queenie, in a bad light. Pffft … to the lot of them and off with their heads.
Anyway, after reading Jack’s article it started me thinking. I can remember Dali from my childhood, seeing him on TV, black and white in those days. As a teenager in the 1960 he was one of our icons, we thought we were very avant-garde being first beatniks before moving on to become hippies. Yet despite growing up and growing old I have always found Dali’s work, bizarre and excessive as it is, appealing even though I can´t always make sense or see the purpose other than fun.
On one of our visits to the peninsular, we had been staying in Barcelona and were driving to France so took the opportunity to stop at Figueres, the home town of Dali and of course the Teatro-Museo Dali. We didn´t investigate the town, it was purely en-route and very crowded the day we were there. We pulled into a car park on rough ground and suspected we would be blocked in but sometimes you just take the chance for something worth seeing. For us it was only a short walk but I suspect the museum can be spotted at a fair distance as it parades its eggy roof and bready walls.
In a square in front of the museum is a sculpture of someone whose head is an egg. Dali had an obsession with eggs and bread; I wonder what he had for breakfast. The sculpture as strange as this seems gives no indication as to what lies beyond the entrance. This is more than a museum; it is a work of art albeit very surreal.
The first thing you see upon entering is Queen Esther, a big, sexy girl, chained to a Cadillac and anchoring Gala’s boat that sits on a column of tyres. Despite enormous drops of water that hang from the bottom of the boat there is no fear of it drifting away as long as Esther is the anchor.
In the domed area, the walls are covered with paintings, sculptures, chains and wash hand basins scattered above the heads of the spectators. I was overwhelmed by the sheer range of the display, Dali certainly knew how to grab the publics’ attention his capacity to surprise is impressive and after seeing his work in the flesh so to speak I think he may also have been on some serious drugs.
Often when you visit a gallery devoted to one artist it can quickly become too much of a good thing because generally, artists work in only one or two media however not in this case. Although probably best known for his twisted sense of reality and striking paintings, etchings and sculpture Dali also experimented with fashion, jewellery, cinema and photography. What struck me as well was that this man is all too often equated with outrageous content and not fully appreciated for the delicacy of his work.
A visit to the Dalí Museum must surely captivate everyone, whether young or old, surrealism does not understand age as long as you are willing to open your mind and let your imagination fly. So Jack, no apology for copying your idea, I know you will fully understand.