A Peek into the Surrealistic World of Dali – Figueres, Barcelona, Spain Trip #10

August 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Sometimes, I wished my one year (or was it just half a year?) art history class in school had been more inclusive and covered more topics, rather than just concentrated on one, which was on South East Asian art. Frankly speaking I could recollect nothing more than just the stupas and the buddhas in Bodobudor that the ang mo lecturer kept repeating…hahah…

Well, we did touch briefly and very generally on the different art movement during other practical lessons, and of course you can always choose to read them up for your own interest. So, itchyfingers has only very limited and general knowledge. This trip to Spain certainly widened my scope in terms of arts and architecture, especially after seeing marvellous work from masters like Gaudi, Piccasso and many others…not forgetting, Salvador Dali.

A two-hour train from Barcelona brought us to Figueres, Dali’s birth place. There were signage around to guide you to the various attractions in the town. As we were walking, something caught my eyes…I swear I had never seen it before on books but immediately I recognised it…

This was not any graffiti or vandalism on the ground, nor was that an
ordinary metal pillar sticking out in the middle of the walkway…Look

The distorted image on the ground was cleverly reflected onto the cylindrical
pillar to form the caricature image of the artist with his signature moustache!

We were sure we were in the right direction to the Dali Theatre-Museum 😀

Once you climbed up this flight of steps and see this, you know you’ve found
the place. Does this look familiar? There is another one at UOB Plaza, Raffles
Place, in Singapore

We were quite sure that this was the Dali Museum judging from the 
numerous surrealistic sculptures on the facade, but this was not the same
from the photo of our guide-book…

And at the side was this window blind with Dali’s face on it, so this must
be the correct place….Er, actually Dali was really very handsome when he
was young, dunu why he decided to grow and fashion his moustache this way
and, what’s with the wide-eye staring? Maybe it helped to portray his quirky

I like his signature! This was on the other window….

So we walked around in search of that second museum that is red in colour and has many gigantic eggs lining around the roof…We managed to find it just beside this white building, but we needed to head back to the first building to get admission tickets. We paid 12 € for both museums. (I found out later that our so-called ‘second’ museum is actually another wing of this main building, which we will write about in the next post.)

We were surprised and delighted that for such a famous artist’s museum, photography without flash is allowed! Totally different from the Picasso Museum where even photographing the building facade is strictly prohibited.

Once inside, we were faced with the option of walking through a huge courtyard filled with bizarre sculptures or turning right into a corridor hung with glass-framed ink illustration. Well, maybe that’s why they don’t mind people taking photos, cos most of the time you will get reflections…But we ain’t ordinary itchyfingers! Managed to get around with the problem for most of them…hahaha….

Court with a fat lady standing on a car surrounded by walls with golden
mannequins standing on the windows…Don’t really understand this…
I read later that this is titled, The Car-naval (1978), an “installation
with a Cadillac, tire column, reproduction of the slave by Michelangelo,
and Gala’s boat, together with the Esther Queen by Ernst Fuchs and a
reproduction of a marble bust by François Girardon.” Boat? Where was
the boat? 
Still dun understand…wahahah

So we left shortly to walk through the corridor…and what wonderful surprises!

I have never seen ink illustrations from Dali…These were so amazingly
imaginative! This one looks like a cockroach…hahah…

Somehow what came to my mind was that these looked like old school 
illustrations from a pack of poker cards…hahah…

And they also looked so “Alice-in-Wonderlandish”….hahah

“Birdman”…hahah. Look at those sacking breasts…hahah…

Look at the different sign-off on his work…

Pipe Piper? 😀

The tongue that looked like a spoon…hahha

This one looks hilarious…

Central patio with Dali’s work on the walls…Notice that huge portrait?

When looked up close, you see a nude woman’s back. But viewed from far 
or with either the eyes squinted or glasses removed, you would see a pixellated 
Abraham Lincoln! The full title of this work is: Lincoln in DaliVision
“Gala looking at the Mediterranean Sea which at a distance of
20 meters is transformed into the portrait of Abraham Lincoln”
Gala was the wife of Dali

Huge surrealistic painting

Pencil sketch of Gala

The same pose in oil…

Gala again. She appeared in a lot of Dali’s work

Sometimes, we have the misconception that artists who are known for a certain more contemporary or radical styles rather than the traditional ones must have done so cos they cannot paint well, thus they had to resort to taking short cuts to be different. But, after seeing earlier works of Picasso and Dali, I must admit that they can certainly paint very well! They must have started, learnt and mastered the traditional way before they could break the rules and created their own unique styles! Definitely no short cuts to that!

Gala reduced to blobs and particles in “Galatea of the Spheres.” (1952)

Blobs of lives….?

When we entered this room, I was wondering why was there a fireplace in 
the shape of a nose…Funny to have golden stuff inside…I think it was 
meant to look like burning firewood but somehow it looked more like 黄金
in the nose…hahah. I like the lips sofa though…

The opposite side had this staircase leading to a camel….curious I went up
to check it out…

There was this big lens under the camel’s belly….and when you looked
into it….wow!

The nose ‘fireplace’ formed part of a woman’s face!

The installation is actually an interpretation of this painting by Dali,
titled, “Portrait
 of Mae West cum apartment” (1934-35)

The lips-shaped couch…So sexy! Hahah…Should have gotten a mini lips-
shaped couch as souvenir…

A portrait of Dali in the Mae West Room

A “soft self-portrait with grilled bacon“. I like his self-portrait as
Mona Lisa…hahah

My goodness…this is a portrait of Picasso...

Growing an ear on your nose…

This is the Palace of the Wind room. There was this huge painting on
the ceiling…

The figure on the right has Dali’s signature moustache….

Unfortunately, one of the most well-known subjects in Dali’s work, the 
melting clock, was nowhere to be seen except in the Palace of the Wind room
where it appeared on a hanging rug…This is one of Dali’s most recognisable
work – The Persistence of Memory


Another same sculpture here – Homage to Newton. The open voids in the 
head and chest symbolised “open-mind” and “open-heartedness”

More black-and-white works…The eye patterns on the peacock tail feathers
were really turned into “eyes”. These eyes drawing seemed to have been
applied onto another form of art by Dali using a totally different medium
which we will write about in the next post… 🙂

Wow…the texture on the body looked like those on the real rhino…hahah

Different squirrel postures…

The glass panel in front of this work was full of oily nose marks cos to view
this stereoscopic work, you must “look at it with both eyes and put your nose
close to the glass in the mirror edge”. The painting on both sides were
reflected onto two mirrors in the middle that were converged at an angle

Now I know where did the idea of making the distorted caricature of Dali 
onto a reflection on metal came about! From the master himself! Dali did a
series of paintings that could only take shape when seen around a
reflective bottle! This looked like a woman with her bare breasts…

This looked like a fly and an angry human face depending on your viewing

This was even more brilliant! A perfect skull shape reflected on the bottle

A study for “Fifty abstract paintings which seen from two metres change
into three Lenins disguised as Chinese and seen from six metres appear as
the head of a royal tiger”. Er, actually no need to count any metres, I could see
both man and tiger at the same time…hahaah

Did you know that Dali and Walt Disney had a collaboration in the late 1940s to produce an animated film with many of Dali’s painting as background? It was only after 56 years later that the project was resurrected in 2003! Why didn’t I know about that?

One of the original sketches on exhibit….

Destino – the title of the short film. It’s such a beautiful piece of work…

Watch Destino here

Prior to the visit, I only know Dali as a surrealistic artist, painter and sculptor. What I didn’t know was, apart from the animated short, his jewellery design….There was a small gallery on his creation, and boy, they were gorgeous too….

Gala’s picture framed here

A pendant. Can you see Dali’s name here?

I dunu what were these coins about but who cares? I love it cos it has a 
tortoise! 😀

Dali’s buried in a crypt at the museum’s basement

Itchyfingers will continue on more of Dali’s fabulous jewellery work in our next post! Do stay tuned! 😀

Also see related posts:
> Chasing Art – Spain, Trip #9
Old City of Steel – Toledo, Madrid, Spain Trip #8
Aeroplane Building – Bilbao, Spain Trip #7
House of Bones – Barcelona, Spain Trip #6
The Quarry – Barcelona, Spain Trip #5
A Visit to the Market – Barcelona, Spain Trip #4
A Bird’s Eye View – Barcelona, Spain Trip #3 
Inside the Construction Site- Barcelona, Spain Trip #2 
The World’s Most Beautiful Construction Site – Barcelona, Spain Trip #1 


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