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Diary of a Geniusstands as one of the seminal texts of Surrealism, revealing the most astonishing and intimate workings of the mind of Salvador Dalí, the eccentric polymath genius who became the living embodiment of Surrealism, the 20th century's most intensely subversive,disturbing and influential art movement. Dalí's second volume of autobiography, Diary of a Genius covers his life from 1952 to 1963, during which years we learn of his amour fou for his wife Gala, and their relationship both at home in Cadaqués and during bizarre world travels. We also learn how Dalí draws inspiration from excrement, rotten fish and Vermeer's Lacemaker to enter his "rhinocerontic" period, preaching his post-holocaustal gospels of nuclear mysticism and cosmogenic atavism; and we follow the labyrinthine mental journeys that lead to the creation of such paintings as the Assumption, and his film script The Flesh Wheelbarrow.
This new expanded edition includes a brilliant and revelatory essay on Salvador Dalí, and the importance of his art to the 20th century, by the author J. G. Ballard.
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Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) entered the ranks of the Surrealists in 1929 with a series of iconoclastic paintings which fused technical virtuosity with Freudian infantilism, leading to his invention of the "paranoiac-critical" method. Later expelled from the Surrealist Group, he was christened "Avida Dollars" by André Breton while acquiring the reputation of master showman and scandalist. His art and writings remain among the most unique and important bodies of work of the 20th Century.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
1952 Port Lligat, the 1st I spent the winter in New York as usual, enjoying enormous success in everything I did. We have been in Port Lligat a month, and today, on the same date as last year, I decide to resume my diary. I inaugurate the Dalinian May the first by working frenetically, as I am urged to do by a sweet creative anguish. My moustache has never been so long. My entire body is encased in my clothing. Only my moustache shows. the 2nd I think that the sweetest freedom on earth for a man consists in being able to live, if he likes, without having the need to work. I drew from sunrise till night: six mathematical faces of angels, of such great and explosive beauty that it left me exhausted and stiff. When I went to bed I was reminded of Leonardo comparing death after a full life to the coming of sleep after a long day’s work. the 3rd In the course of my work I have infinite dreams about phoenixology. I was just being reborn for the third time when I heard over the radio an invention from the L‚pine Congress. It seems they have found a means of changing the colour of hair without running the usual risks of dyeing it. A microscopic powder charged with an electricity opposite in kind to that of the hair causes an alteration in colour. If need be, I could keep my hair the most beautiful black while waiting for the realisation of my "phoenixological" utopias. This assurance has afforded me the most vivid, childish joy, especially this spring when I feel rejuvenated in every respect. the 4th On the way into Cadaqus, Gala found a sheep-pen. She would like to convert it, and has spoken to the shepherd about buying it. the 5th As an epigraph to my book on craftsmanship, I wrote: "Van Gogh cut off his ear; before cutting off yours, read this book." Read this diary. the 6th Everything can be done badly or well. It is the same with my painting! the 7th Let it be known that the most astonishing vision your brain could imagine can be painted with the artisan talent of a Leonardo or a Vermeer. the 8th Painter, you are an orator! So paint and keep quiet! the 9th If you refuse to study anatomy, the arts of drawing and perspective, the mathematics of aesthetics, and the science of colour, let me tell you that this more a sign of laziness than genius. the 10th A plague on lazy masterpieces! the 11th Begin by drawing and painting like the old masters. After that, do as you see fit "you will always be respected...
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