If one were to just take a look at the photos of Salvador Dali online, you would know immediately this was no ordinary individual. With his crazy moustache and bizarre quotes, he expressed his opinion constantly, and especially through his artwork.
Born in Catalonia, Spain in 1904, he was a true surrealistic artist, drawing often from his own childhood sexual desires, mostly freakish and quite disturbing.
Dali always stated that he didn’t do drugs, although many would look at his art and disagree, but Dali claimed he was drugs. That through his work he could influence many an open mind, whether for the good or bad.
If we take a look at a few of his famous pieces, we can see that his obsession with the unconscious mind was obvious.
The Persistence of Memory shows us a few seemingly soft or melted pocket watches lying about in an open land. Dali’s message was to show that time and space are relative and that we, in fact, live in a universe of complete disorder.
Another of his most recognizable artworks is ‘The Great Mastrubator’, which at first glance seems more like fellatio being performed that masturbating. It is clear though that Dali had real issues with sex and the sexual act itself, stemming from his youth. He claims that as a young boy his father had accidentally (or not) left out a book of sufferers of untreated venereal diseases. The disturbing photos must have left a deep mark on Dali and in turn, he brought these into his paintings.
People are strange creatures and while they may hesitate at the idea of expression like this, they are secretly fascinated. This is the main reason why Dali’s works are so popular. With his surrealism style, he takes everyday activities and combines them with fantasy, yet managing to connect and communicate his thoughts through a truly theatrical medium.
Not all of Dali’s works are so sexual. Take The Elephants for example. While still a surrealist view and one to debate for hours, there doesn’t seem to be a sexual connotation to this painting, or is there? You decide.
One can never mistake Dali’s works for realism; however there is a potent aspect to the out-there paintings, that cries out the reality of everyday life. But unlike true realism, which examines the conventional outward appearances at close quarters, surrealism takes those outward appearances and merges it with imaginative idealism. Dali captured this with perfection and sometimes downright absurdity.
Always one to provoke the self-righteous and conceited, Dali drove his messages home with black comedy and often grotesque graphics. Never to veer near conventionality, he thrived on the shock factor, which gave him many an undesirable name in the art fraternity.
To show you how unconventional he was, when instructed to have his art examined for his degree, he refused, stating that none of the Professors were competent enough to judge his works. He pompously declared he had retired.
The Spectre of Sex Appeal painting, exhibited in 1932, is most disconcerting, and shows us, once again, Dali’s mixed up mind on all that is sexual. The little boy in the right-hand corner represents Dali himself as a boy and we can only imagine the broken, half body of Sex Appeal is another reflection of his left view on all that is sex.
Dali expressed that because his works were mysterious they were loved by most. Love may not be the word to describe the reaction his paintings ensue, but art lovers across the world are quite obsessed and intrigued.
Dali compelled and forced us to look at life from a lateral perspective, to always question the normality of everything. He lived a life of craziness. He expressed his craziness or as he may have viewed it, his normality, through his paranoia and cranky imagination.
Whether we completely dislike his form of expression or undeniably love it for it is abnormal, thought-provoking style, his works will always have us guessing, questioning and mulling over their diversity.
It remains, without question, that to have one of Salvador Dali’s works of art up on your wall, will bring about questions of your own sanity and mindset, but unfailingly it will always instigate interesting conversations. As you stand debating the ins and outs, the possibilities as well as the meaning behind his macabre graphics, you will never have to worry about those uncomfortable silences. Unless, the uncomfortable silence is because of an unwillingness to discuss masturbation, sexual appetite or any other controversial subject that Dali’s art brings about.
Courage is possibly the most important aspect of any creative work. It breeds authenticity and is not there to please the audience, but to show them the way the artist sees the world. It’s there to make people ponder questions and think about their own reality. If you don’t do that, if your art doesn’t bring people to new heights, then what’s the point?