Oui: The Paranoid-Critical Revolution: Writings 1927-1933

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9781878972224: Oui: The Paranoid-Critical Revolution: Writings 1927-1933

Salvador Dalí's writings from the period in which he was most closely allied with the Surrealists have never before been translated into English. These short fictions, essays and poems contain all the egotistic brio one might expect from Dalí, but they also reveal an earnest and even sentimental artist. They document Dalí's friendships with fellow Spaniards Luis Buñuel and Federico García Lorca, his entry into the world of the Parisian Surrealists, his passion for the emerging arts of photography and cinema, and the development of his “Paranoid-Critical Method,” the theoretical basis for Dalí's work throughout his life. In 1934, Dalí and André Breton would break forever--”The only difference between me and a Surrealist is that I am a Surrealist,” he later said--but in the period 1927-1933, such distinctions were unnecessary.

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"If I press your fingers, I crush the droplets of my picnic grapes; and if I want to remind myself of your legs, I need only recall that disturbing rotting donkey with the nightingale head." Outlandish, funny, disturbing and out-of-control, the Catalan surrealist Salvador Dal! didn't confine himself to the vivid, weird paintings for which he is known. Dal! also wroteApoems, essays, short fiction, art criticism and art theory, "Reverie," "Documentary" and descriptive prose-poetry, all meant to "stray unmethodically onto the paths of the involuntary." Some of it describes others' works of artADal! reviews and recommends, for example, the drawings of Federico Garc!a Lorca and the poetry of Benjamin P?ret. Dal!'s expertly wacky, sometimes icky, prose shares many of its attractions with his canvases: will his fans be surprised to learn that he hadAor claimed he hadA"at three or four years of age, a vision of a decomposed lizard, gnawed by ants"? Dal!'s exuberantly off-the-cuff theories, notes, self-mockeries and reactions are good antidotes for the overseriousness of so much other writing about modern art. Art historians who follow surrealism will be happy to see this first English translation of volume one of Dal!'s Oui (published in French in 1971), but hopefully they won't be the only ones, since the prose can be so much fun to read. Dal! suggests that "new Surrealist objects" "be photographed... by dropping the object from ten meters... onto a little heap of hay"; his strenuous assertions and non sequiturs retain, 70 years later, the exhilarating strangeness of such a fall.
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