Beijing's National Fine Arts Gallery
With the collaboration of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Spanish Embassy, the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation is presenting in Peking the first great anthological exhibition devoted to Salvador Dalí ever to be seen in China. The exhibition openend on Friday June 9th at Beijing's National Fine Arts Gallery and will remain open until June 27th, when it will be closed by the Prime Minister of Spain, José M. Aznar, during his official visit to China.
With a total of 20 oil paintings and 38 drawings dated between 1920 and 1983, the exhibition is a full overview of the artistic career of the surrealist master, through more than 60 years of intense creativity. The exhibition shows how, during a first phase that ran between 1916 and 1924 Salvador Dalí's work was based mainly on his family and the surrounding landscape. His father, his sister and he himself were his favourite models; Figueres and Cadaqués, his chosen landscapes. Figueres, the city the artist was born in, and Cadaqués, where he spent his summers, a coastal village whose hinterland is an essential feature of the Dalian iconography. So much so that, in 1930, the painter decided to make Portlligat, very close to Cadaqués, his permanent home. From this period, the exhibition includes works such as Portrait of My Father, Self-Portrait with the Neck of Raphael and Cadaqués Landscape (Port Alguer).
Right from the very outset, however, Dalí had revealed himself to be an artist with a passion for investigation and experimentation and a desire to take the creative process ever one step further. Works such as Still Life and The Knight of Death are clear examples of that artistic stance which, along with the painter's deep interest in the scientific advances of his time, were to lead to his mystic-nuclear phase at the end of the 1940s, when he often turned to religious themes and ones related with science. From that period the exhibition includes works such as Two Pieces of Bread Expressing the Feeling of Love, Intra-atomic Equilibrium of a Swan Feather, Dematerialisation of Nero's Nose and The Ascension of Saint Cecilia.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the artist's interest in science and its potential in the field of artistic creation increased, while holography and stereoscopy offered the painter new perspectives in his constant quest for mastery over three-dimensional images. An example of stereoscopic work is the magnificent Dalí from the Back Painting Gala from the Back Eternalised by Six Virtual Corneas Provisionally Reflected in Six Real Mirrors. The year 1974 saw the inauguration in his birth-town of the Dalí Theatre-Museum, his pinnacle work and the world's largest surrealist object. The work Sketch for the ceiling of the "Wind Palace" is a project for the impressive fresco that presides over the main room of Figueres Museum.
Right in the middle of the 1980s he painted what were to be his last works, basically taking their inspiration in Michelangelo and Velázquez, whom he had always admired. Works such as After Michelangelo's "Night" and Velázquez Dying behind the Window on the Left Side out of which a Spoon Projects, demonstrates this perfectly. And to the intrinsic interest of the oil paintings should be added the painstaking selection of drawings also presented in the exhibition, all of them conceived as illustrations for the work Don Quixote de la Mancha, the key work of Spanish literature.