Diary of a Genius: Dali and the City

Every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dalí, and I ask myself, wonderstruck, what prodigious thing will he do today, this Salvador Dali’ – Dali.


Dali is an undisputed master of his craft, an artist whose work has always caused fierce controversy and debate.  Dali’s masterpieces have evoked immense admiration from his followers as well as those in the art world.  He was a true genius: someone who disregarded conventionality in art and always followed his own unique imagination.

His art bears its own peculiar marks of ownership: you could not confuse the work of Dali for that of any other painter. It is recognisably and unmistakeably his own.  He pledged no allegiances to any movements, and even distanced himself from the Surrealists.  Incidentally, his egomania knew no bounds.

Dali and the City is a free temporary exhibition, located in Moor House and showcasing some of Dali’s extraordinary sculptures, drawings and collages.   The outdoor installation of Dali’s intriguing Alice in Wonderland sculpture precedes your entry into this illuminating exhibition.  This sculpture is the ideal introduction to Dali, after all, as it is not difficult to imagine him identifying with the dream world Alice encounters.  His work is undeniably made up of dreamscapes.

Dali’s fascination with psychoanalysis is well documented, and Freud was a great influence upon him.  The Snail and the Angel, one of the more heavily psychoanalytically influenced works on display in this exhibition, is sure to fascinate.  The idea for this spectacular sculpture in fact came from Dali discovering a snail on a bicycle outside Freud’s house.  Other notable sculptures include Saint George and the Dragon, Dali’s distinctive re-imagining of the age-old legend, and Nobility of Time, featuring his ever-recurring motif of a melted clock.  His melting clocks were a profound symbol of the impermanence of existence, the futility of man to attempt to conquer the ever-shifting nature of time.


Dali was a true genius.  I would even go so far as to argue his egomania was wholly justified.  Visit the Dali and the City exhibition, running until the 30th June 2011, and gain a glimpse into the strange, shifting realities that made up Dali’s idiosyncratic vision of the world.

Incidentally, if you really want to immerse yourself in Dali’s bewildering yet captivating artistic visions, then the Dali Theatre-Museum of Figueres in Spain is extraordinary.  This world renowned museum is home to the broadest range of works spanning the artistic career of Dalí, from his earliest artistic attempts to the works he created in the last years of his life.

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