I took in the Salvador Dali exhibition at the Pompidou Centre on Sunday; the first retrospective of the artist’s work to be held in Paris in thirty years. As I made my way around, taking in this surrealist painter’s bizarre and at times thought-provoking work, I wondered if it was the art, or his showmanship that had made him the darling of the art world at the height of his career.
Containing over 200 paintings, drawings, collages, assemblages, photos and film clips, the Pompidou Centre is paying hommage to what it calls ‘the most complex and prolific figure of 20th century art’.
Dali’s theatrics are also shown in short film clips around the exhibition – his eccentricity on full display.
Entrance to the exhibition is through an egg, and exit through a brain. This is a deliberate positioning, according to the director of the Pompidou – Alfred Pacquement, to represent birth and fertility: entering a body, and leaving it through a mind. Yes, all very surreal.
|The Persistence of Memory (1931)|
It is a extensive exhibit, with works of art on loan from museums all over the world.
Although known for being a surrealist artist; earlier works done prior to his becoming more involved in the Surrealist Movement show the work of an artist that was influenced by the Impressionists – shimmering colours and lively brushstrokes. The move towards the use of bolder colours, the use of perspective, and the addition of disturbing images to his work all came later. In line with the Surrealists’ want to ‘shock and unsettle’, Dali did all that, and did it rather too well because even the members of the Movement found his work too unsettling – leading Dali to move away from the Movement in 1934. He would go on to have his first solo exhibition that same year. Unconstrained by the Surrealists, Dali went on to have a widely celebrated career until his death in 1989.
|The first image at the start of the exhibit – Dali in an egg.|