March 13, Figueres and The Dali Museum

We left Capmany early for the drive to the birth place of Salvador Dali and the Teatre-Museu Dali in the city of Figueres. We entered the city through its rather unprepossessing suburbs and had no difficulty finding the museum or parking on a nearby street. Despite the early hour, three large tour busses were already parked nearby, the streets, while not crowded were alive with people walking purposively, strolling, or sitting on benches outside the museum and talking. The entrance was off the main street, down a small alley and we had a little difficulty finding it. When we did, we were dismayed to see the square in front of the museum crowded with people, most likely students on a field trip, apparently waiting to enter. Fortunately, there was a separate line for individuals and we did not have to wait long. “I want my museum to be like 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.” Salvidor Dali I cannot say that I like most of Dali's work, but I must say that he and his work intrigue me. The Teatre-Museu was no exception. Once inside, we passed into a large open air courtyard (the former gallery) surrounded by tall Dionysian statues in the former balcony windows. In the centre of the courtyard sat an antique Cadillac convertible, top up, massive statute perched on the engine hood, a bizarre arrangement of mannequin chauffeur and passenger, green plants growing between and around them. Between Cadillac and stage, a surreal ship sat atop a monumental pillar. Across the courtyard, ramps and stairs led to the former stage, fronted by a towering glass wall dwarfing even the pillar and ship and crowned with a large glass geodesic dome. Behind the glass and below the dome, a massive painting of an androgypnous surreal nude loomed. The tableau did not invite so much as confront, demanding, almost commanding that I recognize the ego behind the creation. Dali himself converted this once ruined municipal theatre to a museum as a fitting place to house his work, as a fitting testament to his genius, and as a lasting legacy of his talent. There is no denying his talent and ability. The range and technical quality of his work is astounding, from traditional painting in the style the masters, to his allegorical, surrealist and hyper realist works, to his jewellery. The meaning of his symbolism and allegory carefully explained by Dali himself so as to avoid confusion or misinterpretation speaks eloquently to his monumental ego, creativity, and productivity. I am still a little uncertain as to his genius, but that said, we spent the better part of  the day exploring and thoroughly enjoying the collection. Just outside the theatre and down an alley we came across the “Dalicatessen”, a small coffee shop and gallery, where we stopped for a coffee and snack and for Sheila to continue her photo- conceptual project “Remains of the Snack.” The owner curated the gallery. He was a photographer himself and supported the local photographic community with the gallery. He did not show his own work, but his eye for image was evident in the work he chose for the  show His English was excellent and we enjoyed discussing a range of topics from his opinion of Dali to the local photography scene, to civic issues. I realized just how much I miss being able to get to know the residents of the places we visit.  The souvenir shop next door, selling all things Dali, would have inflated his ego, if that were possible. It rivalled, in its product diversity and ingenuity, the award winning souvenir shop of the Dali museum in Saint Petersburg, Florida. It did not however, approach Dali’s extravagant imagination nor his wife’s talent for promoting the career of her husband. When shooting, my large cameras and lenses hanging around my neck, backpack, fanny pack, blue jeans, and Tilley’s hat, I sometimes feel like I am wearing a photographers costume. Evidently, I am not the only one. As I explored the area around the museum photographing the streets and alleys, a young waitress had a little fun with me. Striking a provocative pose as I was shooting, she waited until I noticed her and then waving goodbye and she ducked back into her restaurant just as I looked up.
Courtyard of the Dali Museum The Dalicatessen Playful waitress, Figueres Entrance to the Dali Museum Theatre Souvenirs of Dali Relaxing on the street outside the Dali Museum
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
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March 13, Figueres and The Dali

Museum

We left Capmany early for the drive to the birth place of Salvador Dali and the Teatre- Museu Dali in the city of Figueres. We entered the city through its rather unprepossessing suburbs and had no difficulty finding the museum or parking on a nearby street. Despite the early hour, three large tour busses were already parked nearby, the streets, while not crowded were alive with people walking purposively, strolling, or sitting on benches outside the museum and talking. The entrance was off the main street, down a small alley and we had a little difficulty finding it. When we did, we were dismayed to see the square in front of the museum crowded with people, most likely students on a field trip, apparently waiting to enter. Fortunately, there was a separate line for individuals and we did not have to wait long. “I want my museum to be like 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.” Salvidor Dali I cannot say that I like most of Dali's work, but I must say that he and his work intrigue me. The Teatre- Museu was no exception. Once inside, we passed into a large open air courtyard (the former gallery) surrounded by tall Dionysian statues in the former balcony windows. In the centre of the courtyard sat an antique Cadillac convertible, top up, massive statute perched on the engine hood, a bizarre arrangement of mannequin chauffeur and passenger, green plants growing between and around them. Between Cadillac and stage, a surreal ship sat atop a monumental pillar. Across the courtyard, ramps and stairs led to the former stage, fronted by a towering glass wall dwarfing even the pillar and ship and crowned with a large glass geodesic dome. Behind the glass and below the dome, a massive painting of an androgypnous surreal nude loomed. The tableau did not invite so much as confront, demanding, almost commanding that I recognize the ego behind the creation. Dali himself converted this once ruined municipal theatre to a museum as a fitting place to house his work, as a fitting testament to his genius, and as a lasting legacy of his talent. There is no denying his talent and ability. The range and technical quality of his work is astounding, from traditional painting in the style the masters, to his allegorical, surrealist and hyper realist works, to his jewellery. The meaning of his symbolism and allegory carefully explained by Dali himself so as to avoid confusion or misinterpretation speaks eloquently to his monumental ego, creativity, and productivity. I am still a little uncertain as to his genius, but that said, we spent the better part of  the day exploring and thoroughly enjoying the collection. Just outside the theatre and down an alley we came across the “Dalicatessen”, a small coffee shop and gallery, where we stopped for a coffee and snack and for Sheila to continue her photo-conceptual project “Remains of the Snack.” The owner curated the gallery. He was a photographer himself and supported the local photographic community with the gallery. He did not show his own work, but his eye for image was evident in the work he chose for the  show His English was excellent and we enjoyed discussing a range of topics from his opinion of Dali to the local photography scene, to civic issues. I realized just how much I miss being able to get to know the residents of the places we visit.  The souvenir shop next door, selling all things Dali, would have inflated his ego, if that were possible. It rivalled, in its product diversity and ingenuity, the award winning souvenir shop of the Dali museum in Saint Petersburg, Florida. It did not however, approach Dali’s extravagant imagination nor his wife’s talent for promoting the career of her husband. When shooting, my large cameras and lenses hanging around my neck, backpack, fanny pack, blue jeans, and Tilley’s hat, I sometimes feel like I am wearing a photographers costume. Evidently, I am not the only one. As I explored the area around the museum photographing the streets and alleys, a young waitress had a little fun with me. Striking a provocative pose as I was shooting, she waited until I noticed her and then waving goodbye and she ducked back into her restaurant just as I looked up.
Courtyard of the Dali Museum The Dalicatessen Playful waitress, Figueres Entrance to the Dali Museum Theatre Souvenirs of Dali Relaxing on the street outside the Dali Museum
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map Route Map