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Dalí’s Confessions
article [ Art ]
from “Diary of a Genius” by Salvador Dalí

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by [cam ]

2007-03-19  |     | 



“That one who feels like being able to give more than me has to throw the stone! Dalí is already on bended knees, waiting to get it straight into chest, because it cannot be else than the philosophers stone.” (Salvador Dalí – “Diary of a Genius”)

Searching behind their works, we have the tendency to consider the geniuses some usual beings, similar with the earthlings. However, “the daily life of a genius, his sleep, digestion, ecstasies, his nails, and his influenzas, his life, and death are essentially different from those belonging to the others.”

Therefore, here I am, assuming the courage, maybe the impudence of speaking about Dalí. Nevertheless, I shall do it, in a modest manner, in the name of a respectful reminder.

Dalí was born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain, at forty-five minutes after eight o'clock, on May 11. His childhood, marked by events that strongly affected his character, was the realm within which the seed of the early sufferance yielded fruit, offering us at the maturity age, a unique exponent of humanity, an incomparable personality, with of exception qualities. Perfectly aware of this truth, that he was the inimitably Dalí, he displayed it to the humankind, ostentatiously, with an ability and a tenacity unrivalled. After has been defeated the childhood’s and the youth’s demons, the technique that he succeeded in applying at maturity was the technique of being happy in everything he was doing. “Every morning, while wakening, I experience a supreme pleasure, that I discovered only today: the pleasure of being Salvador Dalí”. It seemed to be harder and harder for him to understand how the other ones could live without being Salvador Dalí.

Everybody knows that his name was the same with his brother’s, who had died before Dalí was born, at the age of two. Looking very like the deceased Salvador, he was saying that his “forced identification with a dead person meant that my true image of my own body was of a decaying, rotting, soft, wormy corpse.” Thus, the whole his effort was concentrate on exorcizing the other spirit. He came to believe that he was his brother’s reincarnation. Obsessed by the existence of his alter ego, Dalí struggled to prove that he himself existed. He resembled with his older brother “like two drops of water, but with different reflections”. Dalí’s trial to detach himself of the deceased Salvador, in the context within which around him everybody was speaking about “the other Salvador” and he was feeling himself like being part of the other one, went so far, that he started to believe that he himself was undying and alike God. “For wresting myself of my dead brother, I had to play the genius role to assure myself, each moment, that I wasn’t him, that I wasn’t dead; therefore, I was forced to dress myself in manner of eccentric attitudes.”

The profound sorrow experienced by his parents will be later, translated in an unusually and intense dedication towards the new child. They doted on him as well, this in spite of his frequent temper tantrums and violent tendencies. From early on, Dalí used to display his power. In his autobiography, “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí”, he described himself as a self-absorbed, often cruel child, who enjoyed exhibitionism and voyeurism.

From early childhood, Dalí was using to disguise himself into a king, getting by degrees the conviction that if he plays the genius role, he will become a genius. Since a child, he became accustomed to consider “in a vicious way” that he could afford anything, only because his name was Salvador Dalí. Then, he accepts that end long his entire life he continued to behave like this, and this attitude was a successful one.

The impossibility of judging these spawn of humankind, named geniuses, whose manifestations are seemingly destined to confuse us, after some standards for long elaborated and well outlined, becomes an annoying reality. However, here is Dalí, convicted that, sooner or later, people will be forced to look up to his work, determined to eliminate, by and large, the mystery hiding inside his artistic creations. He wrote about himself with great talent, moreover, he accepted people to write about his genius, with a narcissist pleasure, typical of him, and easily disclosed. Like that, humanity would not have to fumble, later, within his works, searching for the unique personality of the great artist. Nevertheless, at times he was asserting that he himself is nothing more than an “atom” which has no contribution at his life or at his genius. Therefore, when writes about himself or gives interviews, he speaks at the third person, using wording like “the divine Dalí”, “the divine”, or “your humble servant”. Reading him or contemplating his paintings, you see yourself almost forced to give him right.

In 1929, he met Gala Diaconov, Paul Éluard’s wife, for which his passion will be in a continuous growth all the rest of his life. Thanks to Gala, Dalí will finally know the natural carnal-minded love, a kind of love that was foreign for him, because of the education received from his father, which transmitted him the conviction that any sexual intercourse would end with a venereal disease. For Dalí, Gala represented the unique mythically woman, the superman, his superwoman, the immaculate intuition, his treasure, the balance of his gold. She was “the brightest star, the most pure and the most delimited one!” Without her, he would never reckon on his talent, he would never become a great painter. The love and the gratitude for Gala were, at all times, in a continuous magnifying. He used to say that they lived together a “chimerical of real” life, that they were “the unique beings of the epoch, real and transcendental, already disguised by an indestructible mythology.” She was the “soft motor of divine origin”, “the lively nucleus”, and “the cosmic monkey” of the great painter. The whole universe must be thankful to this woman, who, like the artist himself confessed, saved him from driving mad, befriending him, redirecting his entire eccentricity unto a hard to imagine lucidity. By degrees, one of his life mottos came into being: “The unique difference between me and a madman is that I am not a madman.” However, he himself sustained that “the Dalínian inspiration is not a divine revelation, but the result of some mental processes, neighboring with the madness.”

The lectures from Freud roused Dalí’s vocation for the manifestations of unconsciousness within art. He considered himself an absolute rationalist, wishful for experiencing the irrational to the end, in order to conquer it, at last. Denying nothing, he “reaffirmed, sublimated, rationalized, dematerialized, and spiritualized everything”. His name, Salvador, predestined him to be a saviour, namely “the modern art’s saviour”, same as his given name, Dalí, predestined him Gala, to comply with his metaphysical desire. In his conception, the abstract art had to serve for giving back to the representational art its virginity, and the artist’s function had to be, “without doubt, to help people to accede to the mystery of creation, to cherish the cosmic life as well as the social life”. While life is a mixture between hazard and delirious determinations, avid of rite, ceremonial, and holiness, “the painting is the dear image which returns through eye and sloops from painter’s brush – and love is the same thing!” When all the loathsome brush of humanity will be totally and definitely spiritualized, only then, the duty and the reason of man for being on this earth will be, actually carried out. Only then, “life will become a thesaurus” says Dalí, alleging that his skillfulness was exclusively a mental one.

“For those who exert themselves to search for the esoteric sense of his gestures, Dalí is the most modest and concurrently the most fascinating sorcerer. He pushes lucidity until the awareness that he himself is more important as a cosmic genius than as a painter.”

Lastly, he convinced himself that everything that was in connection with him and with his life would remain unique and forever marked by an absolute exceptional feature. He wore prolonged and neat moustache, orientated unto the sky, likewise some aerials for catching the truth, heaving the role of an additional sense organ. He was always staying with clenched teeth in order to do not let freedom for time to escape. At the age of 49, asserts, “I am more and more lucid, and I shatter more and more perfection between my clenched teeth. I shall be Dalí, I shall be Dalí!” He also confesses “the most ultra secret among all the secrets is that the most famous painter of the world, namely me, does not know, yet, how to paint” but believes that he is near to find out. “If I shouldn’t be afraid of painting! Finally, I wish that each trail of my painter’s brush to touch the absolute.”

The mistakes never peeved him, because usually “mistakes have something sacred”. That is why, says he, they have never to be rectified, but we have to be aware of them, they must be understood to the end, and lastly sublimated. Every ordinary accident was destined to disclose for Dalí new truths, and to draw him near to faith. Dalí was seeing himself floating over the all things with a superhuman intelligence, undoubted that all his madness was hiding a seed of truth.

The anagram composed by André Breton from his name, “avida dollars”, was for Dalí like a talisman. He proposed himself to become a multimillionaire and he succeeded it, likewise he succeeded to realize everything he was proposing with a “paranoiac fury”. The unique method of not letting yourself bought with money is to have them, he was saying. Dalí believed that he contrived to make from his life a masterpiece and to be a hero during his entire existence. He enjoyed being present inside the most strange circles and specially the most closed, ones for another’s, where his presence was usually shocking. Exaggerating in everything, he was aware of the fact that “exaggeration will never be in excess for humanity”. Considering himself a snob, he defined snobbism like the possibility of placing yourself in a position inaccessible for the others, offering them an inferiority feeling. Within all human relations, he was finding a possibility of being self-possessed. “Never, never, never, never, the excess of money, of publicity, of success, or popularity, didn’t incite to me – not even for a quarter hour – the wish of suicide... On the contrary, I adore all of these.”

Dalí named the secret recipe of his success “the paranoiac-critical method”, a method that had to action efficacious thanks to his “paranoiac-visceral” biochemistry. “It is about the systematization of the most delirious phenomenon and materials, in order to offer creative attainableness to his most dangerously nightmarish ideas.”

Endowed with a “paranoiac hypocrisy”, a “congenital craze”, and an innate spirit of contradiction, “the polymorphous pervert from teens”, finally touched a “real hysterical zenith”. Obsessed by the idea of a personal religion, a sadist, masochistic, delirious, and paranoiac one, by his megalomaniacal dreams, he created a real “Dalínian cosmogony”. A cosmogony with soft clocks, predicting the matter’s disintegration, with hallucinatory and angelic fragments of the paradise lost at birth, within which “appeared the immense faces, exhausted and bloated, of the famous Great Masturbators, flamboyant with locusts wearing communist heads, Napoleonian stomachs and Hitlerist feminine croups that hung on my lips”. In all this Dalínian mixture, “violent and juicy”, he created themes within which came into sight, obsessively, a universe under the carnal-mindedness sign, under the sign of sadism, scatology and putrefaction.

Dalí used to consider him guilty of the death of his close friends, assuming an important role in people destinies, same as he used to believe that he had a great role concerning the fate of the entire humanity. Therefore, he was convinced that his “The Conquest of the Irrational” was the magical talisman that determined Hitler to loose the war, because signing himself with a cross instead of a dedication, when gave it to Hitler.

The rhinoceros horn inspired him, particularly, in painting and especially in painting each anatomical detail of Christ, identifying himself with God “in a craze and typical Dalínian manner”. He found the rhinoceros horn, round off and curved, “of angelic kernel”, depicting the curved surfaces of human body, which all have the same geometrical common place.

Another strangeness of Dalí, his “unsettled moral problem”, was the salivation of pleasure, especially while painting and sleeping. He loved to feel his slobber in the mouth’s corners, burning him like a “mythical worm”, refusing to wipe off this symbol of his own ecstasies. He named “the idiot, Christian, and earmarked irritation” of the bleeding slash, “Dalí’s spiritual wound”. Sometimes was putting a grape into his ear and its coolness was singing to him and fascinating him, being decided to exploit the mystery of any delight. It is well-known that Dalí suffered a gastric disease while painting “Corpus Hypercubicus”, and that he will suffer the same trouble exactly after 9 years – the cubic cipher above all – exactly at the same date. The symphonic mew of his intestines, together with the symphonic mew of his cat, in concordance with the moon rising, composed for him a lunar harmony as well as a visceral harmony. While writing he used to put on his lacquered shoes, too tight, but destined to sharpen his senses. While painting he adored to be disturbed by flies, contriving to feel his metamorphosis into a fish, when flies were swarming around his naked body and the specimen taken as model has starting to get in putrefaction. “In that day when, thinking, I shall feel myself being disturbed by the flies that cover me, I shall know that my ideas will not have the force of this powerful paranoiac wave, which is the sign of my genius. Instead, if I shall not observe them, it will be the best sign that I am a perfectly master concerning the status of spirit.”

The need of finding dogmas full of certitudes concerning the after-life did not let Dalí to permit him “the joke of dieing”. Finally, his adored wife dies in 1982. He paints his final work, “The Swallow’s Tail”, in 1983. After an accident in which he suffers grave burnings, he retires from the public life and dies in 1989, January 23, in Figueras, the place of his birth.

Dalí, “the unique surrealist”, left this world, where butterflies are too big, stepping unto the universe of angels, a universe that was waiting for him, from where he watches us, a universe where, for surely, the wings are not too big. Bequeathing us an incomparable work, he dies convinced that God exists, that beauty, this primordial element, is the “imperative prerequisite for the absolute knowing of God, which cannot be else than a supreme beauty”.

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