Salvador Dali: Getting to Know You

Aug 22, 2018

 

Portrait of Dali in 1953
Credit Phillipe Halsman 1953, Available for non-commercial use

Salvador Dali: Getting to Know You

This is Sandy Brown Jensen, and you’re listening to Viz City, KLCC’s arts review program, broadcasting today from the Belfry Tower in Brugge, Belgium, where a big Salvador Dali exhibit is taking up a spacious gallery on the ground floor.

 

I’d like to take you to see two different groups of Dali’s surrealist images: the first is about food, the second is about Alice in Wonderland.

The Salvador Dali exhibit was in the picturesque town of Brugges, Belgium.
Credit Sandy Brown Jensen

The lithographs about food are called by his wife’s name, “”Gala’s Dinner’s.” I get a kick out of the way big tables of food are transformed literally into “food porn,” with body parts turned into suggestive foodstuffs.

For example, one image at first glance looks like a bundt cake with a little doll on top. The cake is the doll’s skirt made out of lobsters and sausages. The frosting appears to have a dozen severed heads laughing in it.

Something that at first glance might be a roast turkey, but then again...maybe not. Lithograph from Salvador Dali’s “Gala’s Dinners” series as viewed at the museum at the Belfry Tower in Brugge, Belgium.
Credit Sandy Brown Jensen

The more I look the more I see; and the more I see, the more I laugh, and the more I am disturbed, as well, two reactions that I think would please Dali, who famously said, “Dali does not DO drugs; Dali IS drugs!”

People say they don’t get Dali’s surrealism, yet in the next breath read “Alice in Wonderland” to their kids, which is about as surreal as it gets.

 

All twelve of Salvador Dali’s lithographs for a special edition of Lewis Carrolll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”
Credit Sandy Brown Jensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dali did illustrations for a special edition of Lewis Carroll’s famous book, and I have no doubt that anyone familiar with the book would be able to understand the surrealism in these images; the pack of playing cards, the hookah-smoking caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat.

If you let it, something in the back of your mind sort of unhinges, floats free, and now you have a way in to understand more and more of Dali’s wonderful, surreal world.

 

One of the lithographs from Salvador Dali’s “Gala’s Suppers” series.
Credit Sandy Brown Jensen

Viz City is co-produced by Terry Way and Sandy Brown Jensen