I had a little jaunt down to Melbourne last weekend, and as well as the usual laneway bar hopping, retail therapy and gastronomic delights, I also took in a spot of culture at the National Gallery of Victoria.
The legendary surrealist Dali has landed in Melbourne, announcing his arrival with huge red ‘Dali’ illuminous lights at the entrance to the stunning museum, backed by a wall of gushing water. A fitting welcome for one of the last century’s greatest artists, and the exhilarating start of the largest travelling Dali exhibition, titled ‘Liquid Desire’ and chronicling his complete life and work, from his early days gazing at the rocks in Cadaques, to his eccentric friendship with Andy Warhol and his foray into filmmaking.
I always appreciate good art, but this exhibition literally took my breath away – over ten rooms of Dali’s greatest work lies in wait for visitors, painstakingly arranged in order with detailed explanations and history about each piece, pulled from the world’s two largest Dali exhibitions in Figueres, Spain, and St Petersburg in Florida.
And if you had any preconceptions about this flamboyant, creative genius, prepare to be puzzled, shocked, amused, bemused, and entranced by the sheer talent of one man – self portraits at the tender age of 13, portraying him recovering from sickness ‘trapped like a bird in a cage’, his touching tributes to family members, abstract and surreal paintings featuring the signature skulls, buttocks, beans, melted musical instruments, and crutches (which are said to act as emotional crutches for his many anxieties), and his 50 year love affair with Russian older woman Gala, are all captured by the moustached man’s paintbrush.
But Dali wasn’t just at home behind an easel – he turned his hand to a whole host of other creative exploits, all of which are included in the exhibition. His infamous ‘lobster telephone’ sculpture is on display, you can watch the very bizarre Dali film ‘Un Chien Andalou’, and even marvel at Dali’s jewellery collection, crafted by the man himself and culminating in a motorised beating heart made of rubies, which was created to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.
Give yourself at least 3 hours to fully appreciate this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, and I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say the grand finale will leave you completely overawed.
Visit http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/dali/ to find out more.