Tuesday, 26 February 2013


“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” - Salvador Dalí

Surrealism is a 20th-century avant-garde movement in art and literature, which sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images. Launched in 1924 by a manifesto of André Breton and having a strong political content, the movement grew out of symbolism and Dada and was strongly influenced by Sigmund Freud. In the visual arts its most notable exponents were André Masson, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Man Ray, and Luis Buñuel.

Magpie Tales has presented us with a sculptural confection by that master of Surrealism, Salvador Dalí. As a child, Dalí’s first sculpture was a clay copy of the Venus de Milo. He later recalled: “My first experience as a sculptor gave me an unknown and delicious erotic joy.” The original Venus de Milo, now on display at the Louvre Museum, is one of the most famous works of Greek antiquity, a marble sculpture of the goddess of love. This armless figure has become the icon of classical female beauty.

The goddess Venus held a great attraction for Dalí, who returned to her throughout his career. She is the focus of his 1939 “Dream of Venus” Pavilion at the World’s Fair, where the viewer is invited to walk through her dreams. In The “Hallucinogenic Toreador” of 1969, shadows across her body become the source for an illusion of a bullfighter’s face. In a 1973 hologram, she appears as musician Alice Cooper’s microphone.

For this 1936 Surrealist object, Dalí cuts six drawers into Venus, transforming the Greek goddess into a piece of living furniture, a visual pun on the phrase “chest” of drawers, also known as a bureau. Her simple, white surface, is complemented by elegant fur knobs, a tribute to her beauty and erotic potential. In addition, the drawers are a metaphor for the way Freudian psychoanalysis opens the hidden areas of the unconscious. In Dalí’s words: “Freud discovered the world of the subconscious on the tumid surfaces of ancient bodies, and Dali cut drawers into it.”

Here is my contribution to this week’s Magpie.

The Music of Your Thought

“Of all the numbers of the alphabet
I adore crimson…”, she said;
And I looked at her bemused,
Amused too, by her propensity to add colour
To even the dullest topic.

“The sea, she flies so well, chasing rocks
As they rise up to the bottom…”
I smiled at her, basking in the sunshine
Of her hyperboles, approaching nearest to her star
In that single moment of a hyperbolic perihelion.

Of all the music of your touch,
I love sweetness…”, she added;
And I sang with my hand,
Leaving a trace of honey, treacly, sticky,
On her smooth skin.

“My secret thoughts live in a locked drawer
In my belly…”
I nodded, as I caressed her navel,
Wanting to open up her innermost
Secret hiding places to lose myself into.

“I appreciate the honesty of pegasi
Who in their moulting season admit they cannot fly…”
She pensively remarked, stroking my shoulder blade,
And at that moment I knew,
As I prepared for a perpetual aphelion,

That I had lost her, evermore.

1 comment:

  1. My secret thoughts lie there too...love what you did with the image...