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Posts tagged ‘Dali’

Valentine’s in Paris – Normy love upon Dali’s Mae West Lips

We last met with Normy and Normette on the 6th January. After a month of somewhat turbulent relations, when poor Normy did his level-best to present Normette with a series of 12 magnificent presents each representing one of the 12 days of Christmas (only to result in a catalogue of disasters from the demands of 3 pretentious french hens, a frozen-up swan lake, and an immoral dance show culminating in Normette running away to the Moulin Rouge for good), Normy and Normette finally patched things up. Having reunited and reaffirmed their love, they were invited to celebrate their union before cheering crowds of the Three Kings festival in Spain.

It’s now a little over a month later, and things have really moved on. Normy asked Normette to move in with him (this went smoothly on the whole, except for when Normette’s Louis XVI style dressing table got stuck in the narrow doorway of Normy’s bedroom, and when Normette’s little kitten, quite traumatised by the upheaval of the move, wet itself all over Normy’s prize Persian rug) and the two have been getting closer every day. So it didn’t come as a huge surprise when Normy made the ultimate in romantic gestures and whisked Normette off for a short break to Paris, the city of love, to celebrate Valentine’s.

Normy and Normette ponder the meaning of Dali's Mae West Lips (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Normy and Normette ponder the meaning of Dali’s Mae West Lips (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Here we see the loved-up twosome at one of their first Parisian stop-offs. Being of a cultured disposition, Normy and Normette couldn’t resist dropping into the Pompidou Centre to take a look at the work of renowned Norm artist, Dali-Norm. There, they were able to experience first hand his recreation of the famed Normy actress, Mae West. What after all could be more romantic than lounging in the recreated face of such a famously beautiful Normy actress? No wonder then that Normy chose this moment to give his Normette a Valentine’s rose.

There was only one slightly disconcerting feature about this room that Normy and Normette couldn’t quite understand. Just what was that red sofa they were sat on supposed to represent? Everyone knows that Dali Norm was a master of surrealism, but that strange rather voluptuous red shape the Norms had never seen before. Yes, they had seen Mae West’s luscious golden hair, and yes her two beautifully made up eyes? But those red things further down her face? According to Normy’s guide book, Dali Norm called them “lips”. Surreal indeed…

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Norms do… Dalí

In a strange distant land, almost like the manifestation of a dreamlike unreality, where sharp craggy cliffs are reflected into the mirrored surface of a completely still ocean, and lone eggs cast elongated shadows into the bleak night, three Norms are left flattened, distorted, and almost draped over a series of nonsensically placed objects. Like overly ripe camembert or a floppy wet sardine, the Norms have been reduced to near 2-dimensional formulations of their once rotund gelatinous anatomies, bending and flopping over the inhabitants of this mystifying land: a morphed bird-like manifestation, a bleak, apparently root-less tree, and a cubic structure set like a stage for a nonexistent theatre troop. No one is clear why they are there, or when they will go, but in this eery, intransigent episode, one thing is clear: this milieu has no timescale, no locus, sense of rationality or reason, other than to clarify one indubitable observation: the Persistence of Normativity.

The Persistence of Normativity (after Dali) (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

The Persistence of Normativity (after Dali) (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Confused? Who isn’t, but since the Norms have been suitably inspired by Salvidor Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory, they thought a Delphic description was suitable to narrate this inconclusively surreal scene. Replacing Dalí’s famous melting clocks, these Norms fill the scene suitably, with their lucid organic forms, yet retaining all of Dalí’s characteristic inclusions, from the eggs and the craggy landscape of his home town, Cadaqués, to his ants, his flies and his strange bird-like forms. This is pure Dalí, with a little spice of Normativity.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Paris: la visite d’art – Exhibition 3: Salvador Dalí

I have waited my whole life for the latest retrospective blockbuster at Paris’ Pompidou Centre – or at least the whole of my life since the momentous day when I first cast my eyes upon the work of Catalan artistic genius, Salvador Dalí. It was, I believe, his melting clocks, a painting which I first saw when the headmistress of my primary school showed us some projected images of the world’s most famous paintings. It was a defining moment of my life. In that collection was Monet’s garden, Van Gogh’s sunflowers and Dalí’s melting clocks. And ever since, I was hooked – hooked on art, but most of all, on the mysterious, unsettling, iconically surreal world of Salvador Dalí.

When you think of Dalí, you of course think of those clocks, of ants and eggs, crutches and long-legged elephants, Venus de Milo turned into a cabinet of draws, figures fragmenting like an atomic explosion, optical illusions, the lobster on a phone, barren landscapes and long dark shadows. It’s an incredible list of characteristics which Dalí made his own through images which have become so well known across the globe that there can be no doubting Dalí’s self-proclaimed accolade – that he was a genius. His paintings are so brilliantly executed down to the tiniest detail that the mind honestly boggles. The extent of his imagination is almost enough to make the brain implode, and yet when faced with his paintings composed with such faultless artistic skill, you cannot help but roam the canvas with your eyes hungrily, sucking in every exquisite detail, exploring the multi-layered imagery and baulking and the sheer audaciously brilliant output  of this creative prodigy.

The Persistence of Memory (1931)

The Persistence of Memory (1931)

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate (1944)

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate (1944)

The Great Masturbator (1929)

The Great Masturbator (1929)

Sadly, up until now, my love for Dalí has been lived out largely through the fair few catalogues I have of his work. I’ve taken in every detail of the four Dalí’s owned here in London by Tate on countless occasions, and done the same with the fairly comprehensive collection of the Reina Sofia in Madrid. I’ve visited Montmartre’s Espace Dalí on numerous occasions, but found it to be largely lacking in paintings, and I’ve been to a few surrealism-based shows in London in which one or two canvases have featured. But I have often bemoaned the lack of Dalí paintings in Europe and I have longed for an exhibition when many would come together.

DaliThe Pompidou have answered my prayers. This Dalí retrospective is nothing short of stunning. It is one of the best if not the best exhibition I have ever been to. The show isn’t a peripheral tribute to Dalí, but a comprehensive exploration of his entire career featuring an incredible 120 paintings all in one place, as well as sketches, sculptures, a recreation of his famous red-lipped sofa Mae West room and other paraphernalia. I was in heaven. The show’s curators appear to have acquired all of the works from Tate, and all those owned by the Reina Sofia, but most importantly of all, the exhibition brings together a huge collection of works which are hiding away over in the Dalí museum in St Petersburg, Florida, whose collection alone comprises some 96 paintings, and, most brilliantly of all, the globally recognised melting clocks themselves, all the way over from New York. Could this show get any better?

Geopoliticus child watches the birth of the new man (1943)

Geopoliticus child watches the birth of the new man (1943)

Impressions of Africa (1938)

Impressions of Africa (1938)

The exhibition starts with an egg – a large egg which forms an entrance to the first gallery and whose pounding heartbeat could be heard all the way down the corridor of the Pompidou’s 6th floor. It was like the warm up to a mega-star’s pop-concert, as the audience is whipped up into a frenzy in anticipation of the great star’s arrival onto the concert stage. And appropriately so, for there is no greater star of the artistic world, in my opinion, than Salvidor Dalí, and at the Pompidou, the stage was truly set.

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Paris Part I: Dali, Moreau and the problem of getting a good macaroon.

It’s Paris season at The Daily Norm, and here in the City of Lights, Paris pulsates with the buzz of pre-Christmas anticipation, millions packing the shops and the metro, the streets starting to sparkle with fairy lights, and a chill in the air coupled with the occasional waft of log fires from the Marais chimneys indicating that Christmas is close at hand.

But the city is not just readying itself for seasonal festivities. Tourists continue to pack and cram into every irresistible cultural corner, cameras flashing, and queues forming. Yes, those queues have been the bane of my Paris visit so far, curling tirelessly out of every museum, on the metro platforms, out of restaurants, and even to get into some shops! Our primary intention, as we set off yesterday morning, was to visit the Musée d’Orsay, my partner having never seen it before, and myself intrigued by the rehang on an allegedly revolutionary scheme of coloured walls which are meant to enable the impressionist paintings to glow more against their new backgrounds. However as we approached, it was possible to see, even from the Tulleries across the river, the masses queuing before the entrance, these queues snaking way beyond the old railway building and almost onto the nearby bridge.

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