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