I visited the Dalí exhibit again, this time with a poet friend who hosts the radio show melodically challenged on WRAS. Her program broadcasts on Sundays from 2:00-4:00 in the afternoon, and features poets reading their own works, along with music that enhances the show’s theme. One of the more recent playlists highlighted poems about birds, or poems that include birds. I intend to tune in this Sunday.
It was fun to walk through the exhibit a second time. At my friend’s suggestion, we used the audio tour as we progressed through the halls, and we ended up finding out a lot that would have gone unnoticed had we merely meandered along on our own. One interesting aspect the curators brought out was how Dalí experimented with how he applied his medium to the surface–he used a loaf of bread, his mustache, a rhinoceros horn (which he equated with the unicorn, a symbol of virginity), and an octopus. He also shot paint pellets out of a gun, a technique he dubbed “bulletism.”
I also found out why he was kicked out of the Surrealist movement: with Marcel Duchamp’s blessing he included a painting with religious iconography in a Surrealist exhibit, a theme the surrealists rejected. So he was ousted. The title of this exhibit is Dalí, The Later Works, a time period that until recently has not been admired by art critics, maybe because of the religious nature of the pieces. I did read, however, that Dalí declared himself a “Catholic without faith,” and that he did not believe in miracles.
I’ve already written two drafts of poems in response to his paintings. This summer has been very contemplative for me. I’ve been reading After by Jane Hirschfield and studying Buddhism, meditation, yoga. All the mind work, plus lap swimming, to calm my inner waters.
Even though I want to be at peace, I’m very drawn to the zany world of Da Da, Surrealism, and dreams. I keep thinking that if I remember my dreams and explore the images the meaning of everything will fall into place. A pretty illusion.