Art is a window into the artist’s heart and soul. There is much to be gleaned when viewing any piece of work an artist has created. Thinking about who, what, where and when the piece was created is enlightening. The question of why is also, and perhaps more enlightening.Why any person decides to embark on a voyage to create something artistic is quite fascinating. It is very interesting to consider the artist’s perspective whenever viewing any piece of work. What was the scenario surrounding this person’s life when they created their work? Why did they choose the medium they did? What is the subject of their piece or pieces? Is the subject matter consistent, like portraits or landscapes for instance, or does the subject matter vary? Is there a recognizable technique that the artist employs, or does the person use multiple mediums and material?
Some art is quite straight forward in its message. Some messages are very far from straight forward. There is a spectrum for all of these considerations, of course. There are many other elements that could be looked into. Perhaps the possibilities are unlimited in fact. What moves a person to feel good about art? It is a fun and exciting adventure for many.
Today’s book is a great piece of work covering a most fascinating artist, Salvador Dali. Dali by Robert Dascharnes is a wonderful coffee table book filled with artwork, detailed descriptions of the concepts surrounding the art and personal information about the artist. It was written and collected in 1985, and is distributed by Harry N. Abrams Incorporated out of New York City. The surrealist artistry of Salvador Dali captures an era and a movement perhaps better than any other medium from that time, or since.
The introductory section of the book supplies the reader with a great montage of small and large works with a very detailed running commentary on the life and times of Dali. There are fascinating photos, bits of his writing, black and white reproductions of paintings galore and other interesting things. His concept, “The art of being Salvador Dali”, while sounding very egocentric, and perhaps he was, no one would dispute that too strongly, was a concept he allowed to pervade and shed light on all aspects of his life. He was anything but droll.
“It is not impossible that in the future the Surrealist viewpoint will prove more important to an understanding of the epoch and for writing its history than the activities of the members of the group studies in the limited domains of literature, poetry, painting, or politics. Dali’s work as a painter cannot be evaluated apart from his behavior, that controversial subject of astonishment and admiration he offers the world: the art of being Salvador Dali”. The work in this book is something to behold. All of it is laden with emotion, attractiveness, ugliness, fear and joy. The art of being Salvador Dali as expressed by the artist was bright and hopeful. “Every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dali, and I ask myself, wonderstruck, what prodigious thing he will do today, this Salvador Dali.” He was not afraid to show joy in his ability and a fierce sense of purpose. There is a very endearing and positive quality about this artist and this statement. We should all wake up that happy!
Dali by Robert Descharnes is a wonderful addition to any art collection material one may already have, or equally meaningful as a means of educating oneself on a very interesting and change filled period in history. Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s and still has effects today, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. It had effects in politics and other art mediums, as well. The basic goal was to resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality. Artists painted bizarre, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself. There was a great deal of surprise built in, work to make you wonder.
The art is truly amazing, and the amount of material this man produced is extraordinary in its volume, content and potential understanding of human nature – the good, the bad and the ugly. If you have an interest in art, surrealism or just want to open your mind to something I hope you will really like, swoop down to the local bookstore or leap online and gran a copy of Dali by Robert Descharnes.
Enjoy and read on!
Kerry Wholey is a freelance writer living in Narragansett.