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Salvador Dali

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Salvador Dali

Born into a middle-class family, Salvador Dali studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, where he mastered his academic techniques. Dalн also pursued his personal interest in Cubism and Futurism and was expelled from the academy for indiscipline in 1923. He read Freud with enthusiasm and held his first one-man show in Barcelona (1925), where he exhibited a number of seascapes. He wrote the screenplay for Buсuel's “Un Chien Andalou”, which is why he was adopted by the Surrealists. In Paris he met artists Picasso and Breton, and his involvement from 1929 onwards, his flair for getting publicity through scandal and his liveliness which counterbalanced the political difficulties encountered by the group, made him a particularly welcome addition.

Over the next few years Dalн devoted himself with passionate intensity to developing his method, which he described as 'paranoiac-critical', a 'spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the critical and systematic objectivation of delirious associations and interpretations'. Pretty cool, if you ask me. It enabled him to demonstrate his personal obsessions and fantasies by uncovering and carefully fashioning hidden forms within pre-existing ones, either randomly selected (like, postcards or beach scenes) or of an accepted artistic rule (canvases by artist, Millet, for example). It was at this period that he was producing works like The Lugubrious Game (1929), The Persistence of Memory (1931) and Surrealist Objects, Gauges of Instantaneous Memory (1932). Flaccid shapes, morphed, and double-sided figures producing a shadow effect combine in these works to create an unexpected universe a fascination for decay.

Dalн's extreme statements on political matters, in particular his fascination for Hitler, struck a false note in the context of the Surrealist ethic and his relations with the rest of the group became increasingly strained after 1934. The break finally came when the painter declared his support for Franco in 1939. And yet he could boast that he had the backing of Freud himself, who declared in 1938 that Dalн was the only interesting case in a movement whose aims he confessed not to understand. Moreover, in the eyes of the public he was, increasingly as time went by, “the Surrealist par excellence”. He did his best to maintain, by way of excessive exhibitionism in every area, this amazing reputation.

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