December 25, 2011

Istanbul to Host Master of Surrealism

In an exhibition that opened Dec. 23, Istanbul’s Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts in cooperation with InArtis and Kült hosts one of the 20th century’s most important artists and representatives of the surrealist movement, Salvador Dali, with 121 works consisting of the print series “Divine Comedy,” “Traces of Surrealism” and “Dinner with Gala.”


The Dali print series “Divine Comedy” originated through plans by the Italian government to honor the 700th birthday of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri in the beginning of the 1950s. Although the project was later dropped in Italy, Dali strove to see its completion.

In the late 1950s Dali met French publisher Joseph Foret, who had issued Dali’s series of lithographs for Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” in 1957 and 1958. After viewing a group of the watercolors for the series “Divine Comedy” at Dali’s studio, Foret enthusiastically set out to find support for the creation of the print series.

The series consists of 100 prints, one print for each canto of Dante’s epic poem “Divine Comedy” plus one cover print. The prints were produced as wood engravings in the years 1959 to 1963 in Paris, commissioned by Joseph Foret. For the series “Divine Comedy,” 3,500 blocks were carved by two professional carvers.

“Traces of Surrealism” is made up of Dali’s nine lithographic color printings. The lithographic works were made in Paris in 1971. The surreal atmosphere in the works provides images of a plastic universe that makes it impossible to separate between dream and reality. Dali’s main goal was to convert the everyday life to the home of “dream” in a sarcastic manner.

This series is regarded as the exemplary work for Dali’s symbolism and surrealism. Here, the crutches, the clocks, the butterflies, Gala and Dali himself are the important symbols in terms of traces of his artistic light.

Dali’s “Dinner with Gala” series consists of 12 colored lithographs. Dali had wished to become a chef since childhood and finally realized this dream at the age of 68. This series includes the menus and recipes of legendary restaurants and chefs and their surrealist gastro-aesthetics stories.

In these studies full of light and color games, the artist stresses the starving artist, but he is depicted not as someone who is hungry but someone with a burning passion for art with the same pleasure of eating food and an exaggerated and flaunted digesting.

The exhibition at Tophane-i Amire can be viewed through Feb. 26, 2012 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul to Host Master of Surrealism

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