Page 12 - Studio International - September 1966
P. 12

`An ecstatic blossoming'

      Comment by Jasia Reichardt

      What is a 'scene' ?                       of the national world, is summed up in a   `Secret Life', Dali extends his hand
      That rather vague phenomenon increasingly  short and reserved biographical note    towards Breton hoping for a warm forgiving
      often referred to as a 'scene' in the art   published in Patrick Waldberg's        handshake from the leader of surrealism,
      world does not bear analysis. Perhaps it is   Surrealism*:                         whom he has obviously always admired
       nothing more than the repetitive event of   `Dali, Salvador:                      in his cryptic Dalinian way.
       people getting together—like the same     Born 1904 in Figueiras (Spain). Painter,   The name Salvador, which for Dali
      gathering taking place on different        poet and essayist.                      stands for one thing only—one destined to
       premises and talking about getting together,   After futurist and cubist phases, entered   save art from all the anarchistic movements,
      and someone writing about it, and other    the ranks of surrealism (1929) where his   from dada to abstraction—was transformed
      people talking about someone writing about   work was trailed with enthusiasm.     by Breton to `avida dollars'. Dali promptly
      it. Since the 'scene' constitutes the      Inventor of the "paranoiac-critical"    decided to turn the insult into a prophecy
      periphery of any given activity, its       method. His painting employed academic   and proceeded to throw his energies into
      importance is secondary in so far as its   technique to convey infantile obsessions.   love of gold, coming finally to the conclusion
      sole purpose is to draw attention to that   Collaborated with Bunuel in 1931. Later   that the only way to spiritualize matter
      activity. It invariably involves groups of   acquired a universal reputation as a   is to fill everything with gold. Dali became
      people divided into participants, associates,   result of constant self-advertisement and   an expert on gold and success, he gave
      and audience. There is only one 'scene'   social scandals. Now lives in Cadaques   advice to impecunious young artists saying,
      where these three functions are imperially   (Spain).'                             among other things, that it is helpful to
      assumed by a single individual—i.e. the                                            have a developed taste for expensive food,
      scene of paranoiac critical activity,    Dali's break with the surrealist movement   which is invariably free if one goes to
      established in 1929 by Salvador Dali, its   was a direct consequence of his obsession   enough parties, as opposed to indifferent
      inventor, apologist, publicist, and sole   with Hitler, who appeared to him as a   food for which one has to pay.
      member. He defined it as a 'spontaneous   woman. 'Every time I started painting     The Diary of a Genius is one of those
      method of irrational understanding based   the leather strap that ran from his belt   impossible exposes of egocentricity which
      upon the interpretative critical         across the opposite shoulder, the softness   are tedious until one begins to read
      association of delirious phenomena'.     of the Hitlerian flesh squeezed into the   between the lines. Like a pornographic
       Dali's highly idiosyncratic scene, which   military tunic brought me to a state of   book which is not a work of literary merit,
      exists on the periphery of his main      ecstasy that was simultaneously gustatory,   this volume also devotes too much space to
      activity as a painter, does not admit    milky, nutritive, and Wagnerian, and      the sensational—whether it be the art of
      anyone else, with the exception of the   made my heart beat violently, a very rare   fasting, Dali's ecstatic defecations (a key to
      superwoman Gala Dali who is permitted    emotion I don't experience even when I'm   longevity) or his apparently preposterous
      to participate in his secret, irrational, and   making love.' The picture of Hitler's death   claims. The baroque text and its general
      mystical ventures. Dali's short affiliation   `The Enigma of Hitler', despite explanations  tone suggest an intent to catch and hold
      with the surrealist movement clearly     that it was strictly paranoid and essentially   the reader's attention by whatever means,
      manifested his unwillingness to take part   apolitical, was finally the cause of his   in order to give vent to some perplexing
      in group manifestations, however close   expulsion from the surrealist movement.   ideas and to find a vehicle for the writer's
      these might have been to his own aims    His contact with Breton has never been    own amusement.
      and sympathies. His relationship with    re-established.                            Much of the text that might have been
      the surrealists, whom he believed to be   In his Diary of a Genius,** the first of   risque twenty years ago but today appears
      capable of freeing man from the tyranny    nine volumes which are a sequel to his   devoid of any anarchistic or revolutionary

      Contributors to this issue               Until recently he taught at Gloucester School of Art   later this year. The book has been edited by Alan
                                               and now teaches at Corsham.               Bowness, who writes the introductory note on Davie's
                                                                                         paintings. It will have more than 100 full-size plates
      Jasia Reichardt, who contributes a monthly Com-  Anthony Fawcett is handling public relations for the   (about 40 of them in colour), a full documentation,
      ment to Studio International,  is assistant director of   Museum of Modern Art, Oxford.   and a comprehensive list of Davie's larger works,
      the Institute of Contemporary Arts.                                               several of the artist's poems, and statements made on
                                               Of the work of Alan Davie, the painter, Mr Ronald   various occasions.
      Edward Lucie-Smith, the poet and critic, is a regular   Alley has written: 'Though he was influenced initially
      contributor to Studio International. He recorded inter-  by certain kinds of American painting, he has created   Statements by the painters  Howard Hodgkin, Pat-
      views with Frank O'Hara, Henry Geldzahler and a   something which is very much his own — tough,   rick Hughes, Norman Toynton and Patrick Procktor
      number of other American literary and artistic figures   almost clumsy, never pretty, and with a Celtic em-  (page 140 et seq)  arise out of an I.C.A. symposium
      during a visit to the United States last autumn.   phasis on intuition and magic.'   held in March.
                                                The colour reproductions of paintings by Alan Davie
      John Furnival,  the painter, lives in Gloucestershire   which appear in this issue together with his state-  Cyril Barrett lectures in philosophy and aesthetics at
      and is closely connected with the group somewhat   ment / confess  will appear in the monograph now   the University of Warwick. He contributes to Das
      erroneously called the Gloucestershire  lettristes.   being prepared by Lund Humphries for publication   Kunstwerk and other journals.
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