Salvador Dali’s deserved tribute. An interview with Isabel del Rio and Martin Cid
Today, looking a message of a friend of Yareah, Susan Bingham, I discovered that yesterday was the 108 anniversary of Salvador Dali’s birth. In our plenty of words nights, I and Isabel talked too much about this painter.
Martin Cid: Today, we would like to know Isabel’s real opinion about the Spanish painter Salvador Dali. To begin this strange, bizarre and finally surrealistic interview I will ask: when do you discover this painter?
Isabel: Hello, Martin. It’s a pleasure to speak with you on the web, I can reflect, and that’s good. A personal meeting doesn’t allow reflection.
When do I discover Salvador Dali? I imagine in my crib. In my grandparents bedroom, a copy of ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’ has been always hung, same reproduction was also hung on the wall of my class room, near the blackboard… Dali is a root for Spanish current culture. Copies of ‘The persistence of Memory’ are also exhibited in every place: shops, journals, cover-books…
M.C.: I think Salvador Dali’s painting has a strange relationship between literature and painting. I mean, Dali’s Universe is like a poem, like words converted into colors and figures. In my humble opinion, Dali is one of the most narratives painters in the History of Painting. What’s your opinion about it?
I: I agree. Dali was a complete artist, extremely curious and creative. He was always interested in writing. Being a young man, in Madrid, in the Students’ Residence, he was close friend of Luis Buñuel, the film director. Together, in 1929, they wrote the script of ‘An Andalusian dog’, a Surrealist film, which was an scandal (all in Dali’s life was an scandal). Afterwards, he kept on writing, for example, the ten years he spent in New York, ha wrote so much as he painted. He was also very interested in maths and science, fascinated by DNA and the Hypercube (a 4-dimensional cube), see his painting called ‘Corpus Hypercubus’
M.C.: Dali took part of the most of the artistic movements in the first middle of the XX Century. Dali is known as a surrealistic painter but I think he’s much more than just a surrealistic painter. He also touched the symbolism and other movements. We were talking last night about one man called John Wayne that became into his character. I think Dali did something similar to this: he was caught by his character and his fame, destroyed and reborn by this same flame that made him a great artist. Do you think Dali was in fact a man beyond a mask? What was most important for him, his character or his paintings?
I: I think Dali was never acting, and we admire him a cause of that. When he went to work with the Marx Brothers, they finished quarreling, the Marx were ordinary people who wrote Surrealistic script, but Dali had a true Surrealistic behavior (difficult to put up with it). In his last days, when he was dying in his Catalan mansion, the service personnel had strict instructions: they had to move Dali from bed when the Spanish anthem sounded on TV. A person who is dying (alone and without photographers or TV cameras) and he is able of doing such a performance, it’s not a performance (why for?), he is showing his own eccentric personality.
M.C.: Tell me, Isabel. What’s your favorite painting of him?
I: ‘Poetry in America’. In the university, studying his words. I saw it for the first time. The drawing is so perfect as always (no surprise) but at the bottom of the painting, there is a strange tower with a clock (time is always present in Dali’s paintings) and a strange map of Africa. Africa is wrinkled, robbed, dying. In front, two people are fighting, blind and disabled in their madness. They are bleeding petrol. I think the two men represent America and Europe, and this is the economic history of the 20th century. A phone is ringing, because Dali understood the future importance of telecommunications.
M.C.: There’s a famous sentence about that there’s always a great woman behind a great man. I know this sentence is wrong in our case (because I am a little poor man and you are great) but let’s talk a bit about his muse, about great Gala Eluard Dalí. How much is she important in his paintings and in the spirit of his creations?
I: Thanks for you compliments, you are a gentleman and also your pipe is smart… Well, Gala? They had a strange relationship, because Dali was gay. Being young, he was in love with the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, and the art critic Brian Sewell claimed to have had a sexual relationship with him. Gala was married with Andre Breton before married him, she was 11 years older than Dali. I think she was s kind of tolerant mother with him, a good art dealer since she helped him to sell his first paintings. Testimonies said, Gala was bored in Cadaques, she did nothing but to stroll through their garden… Dali loved her, but the ideas were of him. I think, she was only a good partner, who was with him because she admired deeply his work.
M.C: As a Spainsh, I feel Dali as a citizen of the world. He spent his live between Paris and Madrid and finally he went to California. When I was visiting some cities, I saw the Dali’s touch in many of them. Do you think that Dali take the real spirit of the XX Century and converted it into forms and figures? Is he one of the greatest or the century?
I: Yes, of course. Andy Warhol claimed Salvador Dali was a father for Pop art; no doubt, he had absorbed Dada and Surrealist ideas, friend of Picasso and Miro… but, he is also great because he absorbed the knowledge of old masters: Renaissance, Velazquez, Goya and also the achievements of Arab art. He said he descended from Moors, and he tried to imitate their arabesques. Drawing, he was the best.
M.C.: Well, this is my final question. Ready?
M.C.: Absolutely sure?
I: Well, what is the question? I’m starting to be worried.
M.C.: We were talking about the spirit of Dali but I would like to talk about another kind of spirits. And I asked myself: do you want to go out with me tonight to drink some spirits?
I: Yes of course. I would like to thank you for this opportunity of speaking about art. You know my religion is the art, the only thing that make people better (art in Spanish language includes writing too) and I would like to thank all of the Yareah magazine readers and collaborators. We are creating a group for art. That is great.
Want even more?
Visiti Dali’s Museum