Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou (París)
21 November 2012 – 25 March 2013
Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid)
24 April – 2 September 2013
Museo Reina Sofía and Centre Georges Pompidou have jointly organised a great show dedicated to SALVADOR DALÍ, one of the most complete exhibitions on the Empordanese artist to date. Opening in the French capital as from November 21, it will afterwards travel to Madrid, where it will open its doors on April 24, 2013.
This unique occasion will gather approximately 200 works proceeding from important institutions, private collections
and the three holders of the Dalí legacy: Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí (Figueres), Salvador Dalí Museum St Petersburg (Florida), and Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid), that will thus join efforts to show the public the best of their collections.
Jean-Hubert Martin as general curator, Montse Aguer (curator at Museo Reina Sofía) on the one hand, and Jean-Michel Bouhours and Thierry Dufrêne (curators at Pompidou), on the other, have been involved in the exhibition.
The show will aim to reappraise Dalí as a thinker, writer and creator of a particular vision of the world. Loans from main institutions contribute to the exceptionality of the exhibition: from MoMA (New York), The Persistence of Memory (1931); from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) (1936); from Tate Modern, Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937); and from Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Belgium, The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1946).
The surrealist period constitutes the core of the show at Museo Reina Sofía, with special emphasis on the paranoiac-critical method developed by the artist as a mechanism to transform and subvert reality. The different sections will include, along the artworks, documentary material, photographs, manuscripts by the artist, magazines and audiovisuals.
The exhibition will start with a section dedicated to Dalí’s first works, with a strong presence of elements that marked his childhood, such as family —Cubist Self-Portrait (1923), Portrait of my Father (1925) or Figure at a Window (1925)— and the environment that surrounded him in those years: the sea, the rocky landscapes of Cadaqués, the light or the trees, as can be seen in Cliffs (1926) or The Jorneta (Cadaqués Landscape) (1923).
His arrival to the Residencia de Estudiantes (Madrid) in late 1922, as well as meeting Federico García Lorca and Luis Buñuel —with whom he collaborated in the film Un chien andalou (1929)—, among others, faces him with the Generation of ’27 and its poets, writers, painters and film-makers that were part of it. Dalí is increasingly inspired at this moment by the avant-gardes and dallies with cubism. The imaginary developed within the Residencia is reflected in the numerous drawings of the mid-1920s series Putrefacts (“Putrids”). Among other important pieces, this part of the show will also include the wellknown Portrait of Luis Buñuel (1924) and Neo-Cubist Academy (Composition with Three Figures) (1926). In a moment that could be qualified as presurrealistic, showing influences by Masson, Bataille, Miró and Picasso, Dalí produces works such as The Stinking Ass (1928) or Inaugural Goose Flesh (1928).
Once fully into surrealism, Dalí develops his paranoiac-critical method, that will centre the following section of the exhibition, with the presence of essential works such as The Great Masturbator (1929), The Persistence of Memory (1931), William Tell (1930) or The Spectre of Sex-Appeal (1934). The paranoiac-critical method enables him to transform and subvert the world: Dalí proposes, compared to the passive automatism of surrealism (automatic drawing, exquisite corpses…), an active method based on the deliriums of paranoiac interpretation.
Next, specific sections will be dedicated to the artist’s reinterpretation of Millet’s Angelus; surrealism after 1936, containing some surrealist objects, such as the well-known White Aphrodisiac Telephone (1936) or Veston Aphrodisiaque (1936/77); and the subject of war.
The show will also offer thirty of the original drawings that illustrated the book The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí in the 1940s, and will continue with pieces on his experience in the United States, through which he revalorises the theatricality of his work —The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1946)—. That was the time of experimental film projects and others, related to Hollywood (Spellbound) and in collaboration with Walt Disney (Destino).
The last section of the exhibition will show the artist’s great interest in science. His painting became deeply transformed by the ending of World War II and Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s nuclear catastrophe: Tête nucléaire d’un ange (1962). In addition, amongst others, Exploding Raphaelesque Head (1951) and The Maximum Speed of Raphael’s Madonna (1954) will be on display, as well as The Swallow’s Tail (1983), his last work, based on René Thom’s catastrophe theory. Experimentation with stereoscopic works, such as Dalí Seen from the Back Painting Gala from the Back Eternalized by Six Virtual Corneas Provisionally Reflected by Six Real Mirrors (1972-73) will close the group of his most outrageous and transgressor works.