Published in the catalogue of the exhibition Dalí the reader and readers of Dalí,
Spanish Cultural Centre, Mexico, 2004
For the Spanish Cultural Centre is unavoidable to commemorate the hundreth anniversary of Salvador Dalí's birth. Being loyal to our vocation, we have tried to link the artist with the image he has in Mexico. We suggest to do it from a critical point of view, or maybe "paranoid-critical" as Dalí himself proposed: by means of systematic delirious associations. Anyway, one of our goals is to present the character in a not so widely known aspect, as it is his interpreter role, more specifically his activity as a reader. Dalí was not only a voracious reader, owner of a huge library, but also a profuse illustrator of literary works, always seduced by the task of producing images, experimenting with the graphic techniques and mixing the textual description with the automatic drawing. He is also the author of several manifestos, essays, movie scripts and autobiographic texts.
In this exhibition we start from the act of reading (the interpretation of signs), understood as a creative act that developes ways to understand the world. Therefore, there are as much realities as readings. That's why we have added to Dalí's work the interpretations of other two artists: Joan Fontcuberta (Barcelona, 1955) and Elsa Madrigal (Mexico city, 1971). While Salvador Dalí used real landscapes as models for his paintings, Joan Fontcuberta digitally composes his landscapes using Dalí's paintings as models, giving them a photographic appearance without using any kind of camera. Where is reality and where fiction? Both Dalí and Fontcuberta answer with the humour caused by confusion, in a dialogue that is the result of an assigment of Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg (Florida), curated by William Jeffett. On the other hand, Elsa Madrigal explores the fragility of time, since birth to death, taking up again Dalí's elements: cannibalism, mutilated corpses, devastated landscapes, ants...
Another possible way to approach to an artist's work is collecting it, and this exhibition is centered on Mexican collections, so a part of Dalí's heritage located in Mexico is made public. The hundreth anniversary allows us to look back towards a well known character, in order to try to widen what we know about him, relating him with other creators, from writters of all times to contemporary artists. Dalí already said it: "to look is to think". Let's look.