Eccentric Salvador Dalí is the most famous surrealist in the world to this day. For the first time, the exhibition shows hitherto unnoticed parallels between him and the pioneer of abstraction in modern art – Hans Arp – by presenting first-rate works from international museums and collections.
In Paris in 1929, the younger Dalí, who paints his surreal visions with an academic brushstroke, meets the poet, painter and sculptor Arp, who has already established himself at the time. André Breton’s surrealist manifesto, which propagates an art form that is fed by the subconscious and dissolves the boundaries between dream and reality, strongly influences both of them.
For a whole decade, the two artists jointly take part in numerous exhibitions and actions. Both Arp and Dalí work with the creative principles of metamorphosis and transformation. Both assemble human beings, nature and the world of things to fantastic creatures. Objects are taken out of their original context and placed in new ones. During this time they also develop their individual characteristic formal languages. While Dalí devotes himself to the supposedly recognizable, naturalistic representation, Arp presses ahead with abstract surrealism. At the same time, an enigmatic symbolism connects Arp’s lyrical texts with Dalí’s paintings, as the exhibition reveals.
As an early multimedia artist, Dalí translates the spatial illusions of his pictures into the medium of film. Together with Luis Buñuel, he made the surreal masterpiece An Andalusian Dog in 1929.
The exhibition shows a selection of Dalí’s cinematic oeuvre and picks up on his enthusiasm for new technologies in an augmented reality presentation: A tower viewer invites you to go for an interactive stroll through a Rhine landscape that all of a sudden is populated by Dalí’s unique creatures. Self-exposing Dalí never shies away from popular culture and, among other things, works as an illustrator for advertising. Combined with his distinctive moustache and elegant clothes, very early he stylizes himself as the »Dalí brand«.
Dalí’s fascination with the musical genius of Ludwig van Beethoven, whose 250th birthday is celebrated worldwide in 2020, expands the artistic exchange with this other seminal artist. Both in the exhibition and in a concert series, Beethoven’s compositions bring to life the works of Salvador Dalí.