So in my ongoing fascination with surrealism, I did what, arguably, I should have done a few weeks ago, and pulled my dusty collection of Dali’s work off the shelf and flipped through it while running off prints.
I will now commit an heinous act of art treason. Brace yourselves.
Don’t get me wrong. Dali was a better painter than I may ever be, and I am certainly not fit to lick the toes of his spiky little boots. And I am absolutely not qualified to judge someone’s subject matter, I don’t have a toe to stand on, let alone a leg. I paint be-fezed animals and eyeless gnomes. My moral high ground is below sea level on this one.
He had some great pieces. I pity da foo’ who doesn’t appreciate that great classic, “Persistence of Memory,” and I have a soft spot for “Temptation of St. Anthony.” But much of his work just leaves me cold. It becomes a sort of jumble of melty things and chunks of bodies and Lenin’s head. It’s an unlovely clutter. I don’t ascribe to the belief that art must be about beauty, and I can appreciate that he was maybe trying to express something about the subconscious that could only be expressed in chaotic jumbles, but while it may work as psychology, much of it leaves me cold as art.
Part of it may be that the man obviously had a few issues (which I suspect he nourished and cultivated and fed regularly) and built paintings as shrines to them. This is not something I do. I may well be sexually repressed, but I don’t feel the need to paint about it, nor would I even know where to begin, (and rather suspect my idea of a searing personal diatribe about sexual repression would consist of a small mammal in a fez, carrying a sign that says “I AM SEXUALLY REPRESSED, GODDAMNIT.”) Paint a headless giantess made out of rocks and deflated sacks looming over a small child in a sailor suit with some kind of weird bone wang? No. Wouldn’t happen. This is probably a failing on my part rather than Dali’s, I grant you. But man, that guy had issues.
So! Anybody know any other Surrealists I should look at? I like Yerka and Huss and Bruvel, who are sort of modern commercial incarnations of the movement, but ignorant as I am of history, anybody got any others to recommend?