“Every morning, when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy—the joy of being Salvador Dali—and I ask myself in rapture, ‘What wonderful things this Salvador Dali is going to accomplish today?’”
— Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali
At this moment when i am creating something new in my life, the words of one of my favourite artists come to mind, that flamboyant artist who used bizarre dream imagery to create unforgettable landscapes of his own inner world. And what could bring S Dali and his disquieting interpretation of fantastical imagery to the forefront of my mind? Certainly his madness , but also his meticulously rendered canvases with double or triple entendre !
I think of all the refracted humour of Dali’s early paintings, that depict dream imagery and everyday objects in unexpected forms.
Some memorable episodes in Dali's, that stay with me, were his refusal to take his final examination, saying he knew more than the professor, leading to his expulsion from the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts. Another turning point was his first meeting with muse Gala Eluard, when she visited Cadaques with her husband, French poet Paul Eluard. She become Dali’s lover and inspiration, leading to his first one-man show in Paris, at Goeman’s Gallery. They married in a civil ceremony and she constantly advised him on how to interact with the art community, especially while they were in America.
Dali painted, sculpted, photographed, designed perfumes and jewellery. I think of him when I am introduced and people ask me what is it 'exactly' that I do? Am I an Interior Architect or Designer or Stage Compere or Writer or Art Curator. His scripts caused scandal and the League of Patriots rioted in protest, destroying many surrealist works.
He interacted with Picasso, Harpo Marx, Miro, Luis Bunuel. He designed dresses and hats for Elsa Schiaparelli, drew portraits of Sigmund Freud. He worked with Walt Disney on an animated film project (Destino), which was never realised; designed dream sequences for Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Spellbound; and illustrated Macbeth and Don Quixote. He did scenarios, costumes and sets for Bacchanale; and designed productions by Peter Brook and Lucino Visconti. He created a series of jewels for Carlos Alemany. As he put it, “At the age of six, I wanted to be a cook. At seven, I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.”
And his kaleidoscopic life was peppered with intriguing art situations. Like the famous photograph taken a short while before his demise, in 1989, where Vanity Fair’s Helmut Newton photographed him in a satin gown. He wears the Grad Cross of Isabella the Catholic and displays the tube in his nose, through which he’d been fed, due to a psychological problem with swallowing.
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