Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Salvador Dali: Kevin Mo

Salvador Dali, born in Catalonia, Spain in 1904. At the Madrid's school of fine arts, Dali became drawn to Academicism, Impressionism, Futurism, and Cubism. He also began to read Freud's work and became enamored by the subconscious and joined the Surrealism movement in 1928. As one of the most famous Surrealist painters, Dali developed the "Paranoid-Critical Transformation" method as the main means by which he drew inspiration for his work. Through his method, Dali was able to place himself in a "paranoid" state where he could experience hallucinations regarding everyday objects and life. I became first aware of his work while visiting his museum in Paris and became immediately drawn in by his ability to make subconscious connections between different ideas that I personally would not be able to connect but can appreciate. 

One of the major themes across many of his artworks is time and our perception of it. In arguably his most famous piece, "The Persistence of Memory", Dali displays a multitude of melting clocks where it time is fading into oblivion. In this imagery, Dali could be making a statement on time in a dreamlike state fading or how memory can persist while time passes and melts away.

"Persistence of Memory" [1]

Often times, after returning from his "paranoid" state, Dali would want to immediately sketch out his hallucinations. Below is a sketch called "Fantastic Beach Scene" where there is a strange placement of arms within the sketch. It is cool to note his use of line thicknesses to accentuate important portions of each object and how they bring certain objects to the forefront and push some objects to the back.

"Fantastic Beach Scene" [2]

Another one of Dali's infatuations was the use of animals, specifically the elephant in his paintings. In this painting, "Swans Reflecting Elephants", the first thing that stands out are the swans basking in the lake. Upon further inspection, we see the reflection of the swans which like elephants. This hallucinatory imagery was a main staple of Dali and the surrealism movement where things can take on a second within the painting. 

"Swans Reflecting Elephants" [3]

Impressionism as a genre has always been a favorite of mine as it is closest to my style of painting. However, surrealism and Dali provides an extra layer of thought and introspection that doesn't exist in impressionism which I really enjoy from an observer's standpoint versus a learning standpoint I might take when viewing impressionist paintings.


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