The Pompidou Centre in Paris is hosting a spectacular retrospective of the renowned artist, Salvador Dali. It is a meticulous and thorough exhibition with a chronological overview of the artist’s work and philosophy and the many artistic phases he went through in his life. On show are all of the masterpieces of all his periods including paintings, sculptures, works of art, writing and film footage. He was a controversial and hugely talented artist who created an enormous collection of work that spanned four decades and established him firmly on the world scene as one of the most influential artists of modern times.‘Le Grand Masturbateur’ which at the time created a sensation and still does to this day. We see a grand painting of flesh and stone, a mixture of man and woman. The face is weighed down by guilt and there are symbolic parts and pieces strewn around the picture. Dali invites us to contemplate it like a dream with multiple interpretations. The gruesome painting analyses Dali’s own paranoia and alternately attracts and repels its audience and creator. Maker of a dreamlike universe and world of illusion Dali famously invented the “paranoiac – critical’ method based on Freud’s teachings, which impelled him to continually push past the boundaries of his experiences and the relationship between man, space, matter and reality. He created a surreal world where objects had multiple functions and meanings such as the famous lobster phone. In his unusual interpretation of Millet’s 'Angelus' we see how he portrays the woman in the painting as a praying mantis, getting ready to devour the male, whose sexual organs are hidden by a hat as if she were getting ready for death. In this sense Dali creates art with multiple visions and interpretations and a world that is not fixed and stable but full of ambiguities.
This exhibition is one of the most thorough and detailed shows of the year; nothing is left out of this grand retrospective of Dali’s life and career. This great surrealist painter and thinker created art at a prolific rate. Make sure to allow a little more time if you want to give this exhibition and this artist justice.