The quirkiest person I ever known in this world is Master Salvador Dalí – the popular surrealist artist who painted The Persistence of Memory. For him, I travelled to the most eastern tip of Spain with my Dad.
It was Mid-Autumn 2014, but instead of mooncakes, pomelos and Chinese tea, we celebrated with Taps in rum and coffee beans, and crema catalan. Dali’s home was walking distance from where we stayed, and we ventured there and hung around over fruity beer and coffee as my holiday mood caused us to miss our appointment time.
His humble abode was helluva fun party place. I love his wittiness in all the tiny details of his work, life, style, and everything about him. He was lazy like me! In front of his bed hung a circular mirror, at the precise angle to capture the sunrise every morning through the eastern window! I can so imagine hanging out in bed, appreciating every bit of the sunrise while savouring a fresh crispy croissant and freshly brewed coffee, and a glass of orange juice just for that completeness of the perfect morning.
His house comprised of many different rooms in many different shapes, of different spatial qualities. He had a very strange taste for ornaments – Dad and I were pretty blown away by the polar bear, swans, and other kinds of bird specimens everywhere around the house. Walkways were of all kinds of dimensions, I can imagine throwing a party there and waking up in the morning to a pile of drunk bodies somewhere down the corridor. My favourite room is worthy of being a karaoke suite, a rotunda with inbuilt seats and if you bellow while standing in the middle, you can hear the echos reply. Another interesting fact I found was that he was best friends with my other idol Albert Einstein! I saw their photos stuck all over his wardrobe. Artsies and Sciencies can really be friends! Guess the common denominator is in their wits and ingenuity. ❤
Outdoor spaces were equally amazing, and his installation pieces were super duper fun, I wish I could be his best friend. Or maybe his little elf. Terrace was fun, Dad and I hung out there to chill, just because it was cool to do so. 😀 and also because we were still hungover from all the alcohol of the trip and it seemed like the right place to behave “drunk”. The rooftop pool had his smoochie lip (outdoor furniture) and the michelin man sculptures and we had a lot of fun posing with them. We popped by his video room for a peek and spent the rest of the evening watching the sunset while sitting on his tiny canvas chairs amongst the olive trees.
This was a very lightening and enlightening leg of my Spain pilgrimage. Art does not always have to comprise dark undertones to show depth or sophisticated layers of understanding life. I do not think Salvador Dali’s art is at all naive, bright and cheery, but there is a sense of lightheartedness across all his works. Almost like what I am striving in my spiritual path – to be detached from the collective consciousness / drama, while at the same time having the ability to understand and contain the dark, the light, the happiness, the sadness, and all-there-is to experience in life.
However, I find that sometime after World War II, his works got heavier, I could feel the sobriety. I would really like to know his perspective on this, and what weighed so heavily on his heart. I would imagine it to be an explanation somewhat mind-blowing and unthinkable.. Or maybe sadness about conflicts and the massive loss of lives is an (almost) universal emotion.
This visit was a good break for both of us. Dad knew only Picasso in his entire life, and it was dreary having to follow me around while I visit other artists’ works. Salvador Dali was his new “artist friend” and he still reminisced about his house and sculptures now and then, so I suppose he loved it as much as I did. And Dad knew Einstein too, so that was a huge plus. Friends (and connections) matter!!!
Dali darling showed me it is okay to be outrageously happy. 🙂 And that artists do not always have to die poor and lonely.