Who is Salvador Dali?
Fascism fascinated the most famous of surrealists
Salvador Dali's giant sculpture, Profile of Time, stands outside Sydney's Customs House. _ Photo: AFP
BORN INTO a middle-class family in 1904, Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domenech was one of the most flamboyant patron saints of Surrealism. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid and went through Cubism, Futurism and Metaphysical painting before homing in on Surrealism.
Dali put a positive spin on the Surrealist theory of automatism, calling it Critical Paranoia, which requires one to cultivate delusion while remaining residually aware that the control of the reason and will has been deliberately suspended.
Dali fell out with the surrealists on account of his politics his fascination for Hitler did not help matters and the break came in 1939 when he supported General Franco. He lived in the United States from 1939 to 1948, prompting Andre Breton, the father of Surrealism, to give Dali the nickname of Avida Dollars (an anagram of his name).
Apart from his paintings which Dali described as "hand-painted dream photographs," Dali collaborated with Luis Buñuel on two surrealist films, Un Chien Andalou (1929) and L'Age d'Or (1930), designed the dream sequence for Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945), wrote a novel, Hidden Faces (1944), and several volumes of lurid autobiography.
Perhaps the most famous Dali painting is The Persistence of Memory (1931).The painting, with its flaccid clocks and metal-eating ants, uses what Dali called "the usual paralysing tricks of eye-fooling". Dali said he used "the most imperialist fury of precision to systematise confusion and thus to help discredit completely the world of reality." The melting clocks, according to him, represent "the camembert of time". Any doubts about this other Dalism: "The difference between a madman and me is that I am not mad."?
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