Since I became aware of Dali and his surrealist paintings he has been my art hero. I have been to every Dali exhibition I could attend so I jumped at the chance of getting to see his theatre-museum in Spain. We took the train from Barcelona up North, to a town called Figueres. The building is quite easy to spot as it is painted a bright red with huge eggs on top of the wall and turrets. This was back in 2005 so things might have changed a bit since I was there.
The Dalí Theatre-Museum, which he and his wife opened in 1974 evokes the life and work of Salvador Dalí. It felt surreal being able to walk around in a building designed by the famous artist himself, knowing that he spent hours and days here, creating and displaying his art. It is described as “the world’s largest Surrealist object”. The heart of the museum is the town’s theatre that Dalí knew as a child. This is where Dali held his first exhibition at the age of 14 and it is only a few blocks away from where he was born in Figueres, Spain.
The Dalí Theatre-Museum includes some of the painter’s greatest masterpieces and includes over 2,100 works from every moment and in every medium of his artistic activity. Around every corner there is a new piece of art, even the building and entrances are pieces of art work. In addition to Dalí paintings from all decades of his career, there are Dalí sculptures, 3-dimensional pieces and other curiosities from Dalí’s imagination. A big attraction is the 3-dimensional living-room installation with custom made furniturethat looks like the face of Mae West when viewed from a certain spot. I usually don’t take photos inside museums or art galleries but made an exception and took just a couple of photos here. I got a very grainy shot of most of the face.
A glass dome crowns the stage of the old theatre, and Dalí is buried in a crypt below the stage floor. The space formerly occupied by the audience has been transformed into a courtyard open to the sky, with nude figurines standing in the old balcony windows.
A Dalí installation inside a full-sized automobile, inspired by rainy taxi (1938), is parked near the centre of the space. My photo definitely does not do this piece of art justice.
I could have spent days exploring the museum and reading about his life, but unfortunately we only had an afternoon to spend here before we had to return to Barcelona. This visit was a real experience, a journey into the unique, captivating world of Salvador Dalí. One I will always treasure and definitely hope to repeat someday.
I want my museum to be a single block, a labyrinth, a great surrealist object. It will be [a] totally theatrical museum. The people who come to see it will leave with the sensation of having had a theatrical dream.
— Salvador Dalí