Saturday 9 November 2013

Dali Teatre-Museu: A surrealist experience

I have long been an admirer of the work of Salvador Dali. His surrealist, symbolic works first began to interest me during school art projects as a young impressionable artist, and ever since his wonderful work has delighted me. For many years I have desired to see Dali's work up close and personal, and you cant get much more personal than the Teatre-Museu in Figueres. 

The Teatre-Museu, situated in Dali's home town of Figueres, originally began its life in 1849 as the Municipal Theatre. In 1919 Dali held the first ever public showing of his works at the Theatre, which was later reduced to a sketetal shell during the Spanish civil war. In 1961 Dali was gifted the ruinous Theatre to develop into his great Museum, and in turn Dali gifted the city with his wonderful art, infectious personality and a subsequent stream of visitors.

The Teatre-Museu is unlike any place I have ever visited. It is not merely a Museum, Art Gallery or elaborate homage. It IS Dali. The entire place and experience is deeply ingrained with Dali's character, personality, obsessions and his bizarre surrealist genius. The entire building is a strange labyrinth of elaborately themed rooms filled with a whole host of odd objects, sculptures and masterpieces.
Some of the most famed and recognizable of Dali's artworks are housed at the Teatre-Museu, and I can think of no finer setting than surrounded by items and objects which epitomize Dali. The optical illusions for instance, which are pure genius and thoroughly fascinating, can only truly be appreciated once one sees their great scale, and grand setting. Dali continued to expand and develop the museum until his death in 1989, when, at his request, he was buried in the Teatre-Museu, united forever with his last great achievement.

It was an absolute pleasure and a total privilege to get the chance to visit the Teatre-Museu on the drive to Barcelona, and for a few hours experience the eccentric and incredible world of Salvador Dali.

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