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Salvador Dali Exhibition Opens at Palazzo Grassi September 11, 2004

VENICE, ITALY. - A visitor takes notes in front of Salvador Dali’s oil on canvas painting "The Great Masturbator" during the vernissage of the Spanish artist’s exhibition at Palazzo Grassi in Venice. The exhibition, which officially opens 12 September 2004 and runs until 16 january 2005, comprises over 300 works. The works on show come from about 130 museum, private collection and cultural institution in 15 countries.

The Themes of the Exhibition - Dali is a controversial artist. Probably the most famous and popular artist of the 20th century, he was also often treated with slight detachment by art historians and critics, as a result of the aura of veniality with which he shrouded his image and which earned him the nickname “Avida Dollars”, an anagram of his name invented by Breton.

Dali himself contributed to creating a sort of dichotomy between the two periods of his art production, before and after his years in the United States. This watershed coincided with his expulsion from the Surrealist movement and the publication of his Secret Life of Salvador Dali.

This “second period”, however, which started when Dali went into exile in the United States during World War II and ended with his death on 23 January 1989, spans about forty years, or in artistic terms more than half of his career. And on close inspection it reveals no clear sign of rupture with his previous style.

The official retrospective, organised on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, aims to take stock of Dali’s entire oeuvre. It assesses his whole artistic career essentially by analysing his pictorial production, both large- and small-size paintings, but without neglecting his many other artistic activities, as a sculptor, writer, engraver, film director, inventor of objects and stage designer.

It also explores his paranoid-critical method, with which he broke away from the automatism of surrealist orthodoxy to address the more meaningful issues of human existence like the human mind, the physical structure of the universe, quantum theory and the theory of relativity, combining them with the themes of Christian religion, re-interpreted and translated into his singular artistic lexicon.

The image coined by Georges Mathieu emerges from the exhibition, that of Salvador Dali being “more important as a cosmic genius than a painter”.



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