“Let the labyrinth of wrinkles be furrowed in my brow with the red-hot iron of my own life, let my hair whiten and my step become vacillating, on condition that I can save the intelligence of my soul – let my unformed childhood soul, as it ages, assume the rational and esthetic forms of an architecture, let me learn just everything that others cannot teach me, what only life would be capable of marking deeply in my skin!”
― Salvador Dalí
(photograph: a bowl of nicely aged peppers)
Salvador Dali, to some art lovers (and my former students), is considered indeed one of the “great” artists of modern time. He help heralded the Surrealist movement to the forefront of the art world during the mid 20th century. Dali, however, is not credited with necessarily birthing Surrealism, but was rather the artist who seems best remembered for the role he played in it’s advancements.
Surrealism was actually born in Zurich in the early 20th century at the onset of World War I, under the blanket of the DaDa movement. A basic escape from conventional art, literature and thought–with a step into the world of the absurd– all full of youthful angst, disillusionment, a world war, political unrest and creative unhappiness. It was tongue and cheek, a youthful flight from the tried and true norm of the time. I am not a fan, but my students were always drawn to the allure of the DaDa and Surrealist movements– as to Dali in particular.
There is a certain curiosity to Dali’s work. It certainly draws the viewer into the canvas. Be it his bizarre combinations or the odd placement of subject matter, the exaggerations of human or animal forms, or his peculiar take on a historical event–all of which are portrayed in his paintings– to his even more bizarre and eccentric behavior during his lifetime— my kids love(d) Dali. He was always a favorite to imitate, explore and study. They even enjoyed the old black and white Youtube clips of Mike Wallace’s 1958 interview with Dali. Of which I find ridiculous, as he (Dali) appears simply daft–poor Mike Wallace.
I did stumble upon this Dali quote today. I am also feeling a bit ancient of body as I am still dragging around this blasted air-boot cast on my leg. Noticing the dried peppers as I was cleaning up the kitchen, I decided I was feeling pretty much how they looked, wrinkled and worn out. I remembered the quote and thought it aptly summed up my current mood. But in pairing Dali with my mood, perhaps all is not lost as there is truly a bit of the absurd involved—giving way to Dali’s ability of not taking things (or in my case, myself) too seriously. One thing I will give him credit for–even if I think him more of a nutcase, his ability to not take life too seriously—sometimes I just need reminding…Thank you Señor Dali.