In the early twentieth century art expresses a rejection of the rules on which Western mimetic representation had been built while also absorbing the techniques and themes that arose with the advances of the Industrial Revolution. These two trends are developed in parallel; they intertwined and influenced each other.
This exhibition addresses the connections established between these two universes in Salvador Dalí’s (Figueras, 1904-1989) work. The artist tries to transform into stimuli for his creative imagination the tensions resulting from this combination of trends. During this period, the acceptance of modernity entailed the recognition of a profound transformation in the field of culture, with access of the masses to politics, education and consumption. Dalí soon became attracted to mass culture; in the Twenties he profoundly enjoyed film, photography and advertising, as can be seen in the exhibition: Dalí joven. 1918-1930 which the Museo Nacional Reina Sofía organised in 1994. The possibility of "surrealising" the world seemed then to be linked to the use of this new cultural media and the materials they produced.
Organised for the centenary of the artist’s birth along with Huellas dalinianas, this exhibition brings together more than four hundred pieces grouped into different themes. One section shows the relationship of Dalí’s paintings with modern themes, along with the passing of machine-age aesthetics to the surreal. It also delves into Dalí’s link with the painting El Ángelus (1857-59) by Jean-François Millet, a piece that has been absorbed by popular culture and of which countless reproductions have been made. Dalí's interest in cinema is evident in a section that exhibits his works from early avant-garde films with Luis Buñuel, to his experience with Walt Disney, the Marx Brothers and Alfred Hitchcock.
The pavilion Dalí designed for the 1939 New York Expo deserves another exhibition space, whose objective was to make Surrealism accessible to everyone. Another area is dedicated to Dalí’s contacts with fashion and designing objects, as well as the collaborations established with photographers such as Man Ray, Brassaï or Philippe Halsman and his relationship with the press, which includes cover designs for magazines or publishing his own newspaper, Dali News. The tour ends with two cinematic portraits that Warhol produces of Dalí in 1965 and 1966, proof of the friendship between the two great creators.
CaixaForum, Barcelona (6 February - 23 May, 2004); The Salvador Dalí Museum, Saint Petersburg, Florida (1 October, 2004 - 12 January, 2005) ; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (5 March - 12 June, 2005)