Jun 24, 2009

A bit of Dali and a bit of a break

Corinne has told me she wants my thoughts on Dali. And after seeing the exhibition on Friday I can say I have many thoughts on the subject indeed. Some good, some bad, but in essence, my response to Dali : Liquid Desire is that whilst some aspects were every bit as cliched and heavy handed as I'd expected, other, unexpected aspects were pleasantly surprising; exciting and impressive even. I maintain my position with regards to Dali's surrealist, biomorphic works -- melting clocks and cliffs that resemble vagina's just aren't my taste -- but his lesser work is truly fantastic, and technically, he is superlative. I was just about to list a whole bunch of superlatives, so I think the word itself works nicely.
One of my favourite things included in the exhibition was an animated collaboration between Dali and Disney, Destino, a short film which incorporates Dali's most well known motifs, and his beloved catalan landscape. Storyboarded by Disney and Dali during the 40s, Destino was judged to be commercially nonviable, and it wasn't brought to life until more recently, when Disney's nephew Roy took it on. The film was released in 2003, and consists mainly of traditional animation, with a few instances of computer animation.

Somehow, the transfer from painting to animation means the overwrought psychosexual connotations which put me off much of Dali's work, simply aren't present. Instead, the storytelling is light hearted, delicate, and the focus moves to the luminous quality of the light and landscape. Simply fantastic.

Lastly, I am heading to NZ for a wee holiday. I have a few exhibitions I want to see, but am not sure what my internet access will be while I'm there, so it may be a while until I post again. I can promise to head back to Melbourne with many a photo in tow.

Jun 10, 2009

"La Bravitude"

After my initial disappointment that the NGV had chosen an artist as blatantly populist as Salvador Dali, I gradually began to feel guilty for being so snobbish, and had even reached the point where I was looking forward to discovering some of Dali's lesser known works. But then I read this quote re an exhibition of Spanish devotional sculpture at Britain's National Gallery..and my reasons for feeling that the NGV needed a serious dose of curatorial bravery became all too clear once again. Of the exhibition, the Gallery's director, Nicholas Penny, says:
"There is an element of risk, but it would be a really terrible thing if people were putting on exhibitions that tried to avoid any sort of risk...You're saying there's no real curiosity in the world – that all people want to see is what they've seen before." (1)

Yes, the National Gallery of Victoria is for all Victorians, not just niche market art nerds like me. But that said, I want my national gallery to take risks, to push boundaries, and to challenge the way people look at art. Will a Salvador Dali retrospective allow any such challenging, or is this sort of curatorship something I can only hope to see if I make the pilgrimage all the way to the National Gallery? I guess I can only wait and see.
NB: for an explanation of the post title, see here.

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