Friday, 13 March 2009

The Dali Universe

Not far from the London Eye is the Dali Universe. The exhibition has a most disappointing start. Two dimly lit corridors are decorated with photographs of Dali and various quotes by him about himself and his art. Most of the second corridor is a chronology of Dali’s life printed on large boards and there’s barely enough light to read them. In seeing these I became concerned as to what the exhibition was going to be. At £14 per adult to get into the exhibition was it going to be an expensive rip-off, consisting of just photos and blurbs? Thankfully, no.

The main room beyond those corridors is where Dali’s art can be found. There are drawings, paintings, and sculptures. They don’t disappoint. Some of it is not as dynamic or engrossing as can be found in other Dali collections. Nevertheless, I felt it was worth seeing. Of particular interest to me was his small paintings based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. They are surrealist interpretations of the engravings by Gustave Doré. It is a shame that prints of Doré’s originals were not on display to allow a comparison. The exhibition does do this with his other pieces when his artwork is inspired from a famous engraving or print.

There is only one large painting. It was commissioned to be used in a dream sequence in the film Spellbound by Alfred Hitchcock. The stairs by the painting lead down a room below where a small number of prints by Picasso are on display.

The way out of the exhibition is through a shop. If you would like to own a lithograph based on a picture by Dali then it will only set you back a tidy sum. I didn’t look at all the prices. The ones I looked at varied from three figures to four figures; for lithographs … you know … prints, where there’s more than one of each so they’re not unique, by another artist, based on pictures by Dali.

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