Surrealism in Spain – Dali

In 1904 Spain gave birth to Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí, who would live the life of a true artist and one that would inspire generations to come. With a tragic beginning thanks to the death of his Brother of the same name who had died just nine months before, Dali was taken to his brothers grave and told that he was his reincarnation, something that the boy took onboard and used positively to become something great. At a young age he attended drawing school and in 1922 he moved to Madrid to study further. It was clear from looking at him that he was different, but nobody could have known just how avant garde he would become.

Starting with dipping his toes in cubism, Dali enjoyed the sides of art that were far from conventional. Inspired by other creators who would dabble in these other areas he began to collaborate with his peers and test out the waters on what would eventually become part of his well-known style. He wasn’t just dedicated to the canvas either, Dali was both intrigued and engaged with art in its many forms, experimenting in film, sculpture and beyond. It seemed Dali’s imagination could not be caged.

At a time when he had worked alongside surrealist film maker Luis Buñuel, Dali also met the woman who would become his wife. From here he was further inspired and with a slightly different perspective began making new works more akin to what a typical Dali may look like. Though his relationship with his Father was strained at this time his fame and this flair of rebellion helped craft other aspects of Dali’s personality that would last much longer.

Shortly after this he created what was to be his most celebrated piece The Persistence of Memory. This is one of the most well known pieces of surrealism the world over and it houses many aspects of the movement which Dali would pioneer. From the softly lit odd landscape and planes which make it almost impossible to determine where the light source is, to the famous melting clocks. These objects warped and liquefied make for a great focus of the piece shifting our ideas of materials and their rigidity. Finally, the odd almost mollusk-like creature at the center is likely to actually represent Dali himself, with the lower part resembling an upturned face with a moustache.

From here Dali would go on to be the go to for pieces that were both perplexing and mesmerising. From his figure work to his lighting to the composition of every piece, Dali was clearly a master quite early on. His odd sense of humour and eccentricity caught he eye of the public and made him even more well loved by both those in the art industry and the public. As his career continued he would go on to create such odd works as the Lobster phone as well as recognisable corporate logos like that of Chupa Chups. Forging friendships with the likes of Coco Chanel and Walt Disney, its not hard to see how Dali inspired people all around the world to create things that are unique and embrace the bizarre.