Dali Thinking

Went to see the Salvador Dali exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria earlier this week. Surrealism isn’t really my ‘thing’ in art, I have to say. There were some beautiful drawings, however, some great perspective drawing, in particular, and some of his earlier work was very appealing (I particularly liked Girl’s Back).

 Dali's Girl's Back

What fascinated me was the mathematical precision and physical composition of his more surrealist pieces. Despite the seeming lack of realistic structure in his art, there was a strict, even rigid, mathematics behind all of it. Viewers could see the gridlines he used to create a matrix of cells on the page and he filled in each of these cells with some image that was then balanced or counter-balanced with some other image in another cell on the page. There seemed to be almost desperation in his desire to ‘speak’ to the viewer and expound his views on the world and its philosophies via these paintings…along the lines of “it’s so obvious to me, here..let me show you…there…do you see now what I see?” In addition, there was a painting of a rhinoceros’ horn and the accompanying descriptor mentioned it as the perfect example of a logarithmic spiral. I will investigate…

He is actually quoted as saying that he felt for a work of art to be considered as such, it must be based on mathematics, composition and physics.

Other quotes I liked were:

  • “grandiose, geological delirium”
  • “mineral impassiveness”
  • “accumulated and chronically unsatisfied tension”
  • “verbal colour”
  • “photography offered the most secure vehicle for poetry”

Also of interest to me was a quote Dali made after trying university and giving it up in frustration: “Expecting to find limit, rigour, science, I was offered liberty, laziness, approximations”

It made me think…again…do we, in fact, limit our students’ potential by not providing sufficient challenge to extend their boundaries?


About Linda

I have been involved in secondary mathematics education in Victoria, Australia for over 25 years.
This entry was posted in The discipline, Things that engage. Bookmark the permalink.

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