The Monday Poem: Salvador Dalí by David Gascoyne

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This week’s poem is David Gascoyne’s Salvador Dali. I hope it inspires you!


Salvador Dalí

by David Gascoyne

The face of the precipice is black with lovers;
The sun above them is a bag of nails; the spring’s
First rivers hide among their hair.
Goliath plunges his hand into the poisoned well
And bows his head and feels my feet walk through his brain.
The children chasing butterflies turn round and see him there
With his hand in the well and my body growing from his head,
And are afraid. They drop their nets and walk into the wall like smoke.

The smooth plain with its mirrors listens to the cliff
Like a basilisk eating flowers.
And the children, lost in the shadows of the catacombs,
Call to the mirrors for help:
‘Strong-bow of salt, cutlass of memory,
Write on my map the name of every river.’

A flock of banners fight their way through the telescoped forest
And fly away like birds towards the sound of roasting meat.
Sand falls into the boiling rivers through the telescopes’ mouths
And forms clear drops of acid with petals of whirling flame.
Heraldic animals wade through the asphyxia of planets,
Butterflies burst from their skins and grow long tongues like plants,
The plants play games with a suit of mail like a cloud.

Mirrors write Goliath’s name upon my forehead,
While the children are killed in the smoke of the catacombs
And lovers float down from the cliffs like rain.



1936

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The Wednesday Painting – Metamorphosis of Narcissus

This week’s Wednesday painting is Salvador Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus. I hope you enjoy it!

Date: 1937

Metamorphosis of Narcissus 1937 by Salvador Dal? 1904-1989

Metamorphosis of Narcissus

Painting by Salvador Dali, 1937
Metamorphosis of Narcissus is an oil-on-canvas painting by the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí. – Wikipedia

5 Hours of Photography. 1: Hans Bellmer

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Found here.

Let’s have five consecutive hours of photographers! For the first hour we’ll be looking at Hans Bellmer.

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Above: Hans Bellmer, Composition

Hans Bellmer was born in what was then the German Empire in 1902 and died in France in 1975. He’s best known for the dolls he created and photographed in the 1930s. He was also known for his painting and poetry and was part of the Surrealist and Berlin Dada movements.

I remember studying his work at college when I was sixteen and finding it instantly fascinating. The images manage to be beautiful and grotesque all at once, the negative feeling drawing the viewer in rather than pushing them away.

Bellmer is said to have been influenced heavily by the letters of Oskar Kokoschka, published in Der Fetisch in 1925. He also helped the French Resistance, using his skills to create fake passports and spent nine months imprisoned in a work-camp for German nationals.

Bellmer’s partner of sixteen years, Unica Zürn (painting below), killed herself in 1970. I only discovered her today, researching for this post – I think she’s going to become a favourite!

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The Doll c.1936 by Hans Bellmer 1902-1975

Bellmer was born in the city of Kattowitz, then part of the German Empire (now Katowice, Poland). Up until 1926, he’d been working as a draftsman for his own advertising company. He initiated his doll project to oppose the fascism of the Nazi Party by declaring that he would make no work that would support the new Germanstate. – Good old Wikipedia

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Above: Plate 9 Of Les Jeux De La Poupée (The Games Of The Doll)

Bellmer’s 1934 anonymous book, The Doll (Die Puppe), produced and published privately in Germany, contains 10 black-and-white photographs of Bellmer’s first doll arranged in a series of “tableaux vivants” (living pictures). The book was not credited to him, as he worked in isolation, and his photographs remained almost unknown in Germany. Yet Bellmer’s work was eventually declared “degenerate” by the Nazi Party, and he was forced to flee Germany to France in 1938. Bellmer’s work was welcomed in the Parisian art culture of the time, especially the Surrealists around André Breton, because of the references to female beauty and the sexualization of the youthful form. His photographs were published in the Surrealist journal Minotaure, 5 December 1934 under the title “Poupée, variations sur le montage d’une mineure articulée” (The Doll, Variations on the Assemblage of an Articulated Minor). Old Paint

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Make sure you come back in an hour to see who the next photographer will be! I’m not sure I’ve even decided myself yet. Dali? Ray?

Salvador Dali Crazy Kiss Eau de Toilette for Women – It Exists

I spend a lot of time looking at and for strange things, but sometimes I am surprised. You can buy Salvador Dali perfume. Sadly, there is no description of its smell, but I’m hoping for a swan-elephant juxtaposition. Elegant and strong. I’d love to know if anyone has actually tried the stuff.

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Super-famous creator of dreamlike and unique images Salvador Dalí would have celebrated his 112th birthday today, in his own fantasy world. Let’s celebrate by having a brief look at the man and his work.

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I must admit that my interest in Dali has waned as I’ve got older and I tend to roll my eyes when, 99% of the time, he’s the first Surrealist anyone can think of. But his work is wonderful and is always worth looking at.

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The Spanish artist was known to blur the lines between illusion and reality both on the canvas and in his public life, establishing him as an unforgettable figure of the Modern art movement. Biography.com

Here are some facts about the moustachioed man…

According to his autobiography, his childhood was characterized by fits of anger against his parents and schoolmates and resultant acts of cruelty. He was a precocious child, producing highly sophisticated drawings at an early age. He studied painting in Madrid, responding to various influences, especially the metaphysical school of painting founded by Giorgio de Chirico, and at the same time dabbling in cubism.Your Dictionary

Dali

By now considered in artistic circles to be more of a commercial painter, in 1955 Dalí was commissioned to paint a portrait of Laurence Olivier for a film poster for Richard III, in which Olivier played the title role, by the film’s director, Sir Alexander Korda. However, the desired poster never emerged. Despite sketching Olivier in the Shepperton Studios, Dalí refused to paint it in England, which he called “the most unpleasant place”, and returned to Spain to complete the portrait. It got held up in Barcelona Airport after being deemed too valuable to transport. Although Korda was naturally angered by this, Olivier got lucky and received it as a gift.The Telegraph

The surrealists saw in Dali the promise of a breakthrough of the surrealist dilemma in 1930. Many of the surrealists had broken away from the movement, feeling that direct political action had to come before any mental revolutions. Dali put forth his “Paranoic-Critical method” as an alternative to having to politically conquer the world. He felt that his own vision could be imposed on and color the world to his liking so that it became unnecessary to change it objectively. Specifically, the Paranoic-Critical method meant that Dali had trained himself to possess the hallucinatory power to look at one object and “see” another. On the nonvisual level, it meant that Dali could take a myth which had a generally accepted interpretation and impose upon it his own personal and bizarre interpretation. Encyclopedia.com

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I also found this excellent Dali-inspired ring on Etsy. The artist will customise it to your own eye, or that of a loved one.

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