Diary Of A Geniusby Salvador Dali, JG Ballard (Foreword by)
Dali's second volume of autobiography, DIARY OF A GENIUS covers
DIARY OF A GENIUS stands as one of the seminal texts of Surrealism, revealing the most astonishing and intimate workings of the mind of Salvador Dali, the eccentric polymath genius who became the living embodiment of the 20th century's most intensely subversive, disturbing and influential art movement.
Dali's second volume of autobiography, DIARY OF A GENIUS covers his life from 1952 to 1963, during which years we learn of his amour fou for his wife Gala, and their relationship both at home in Cadaques and during bizarre world travels. We also learn how Dali draws inspiration from excrement, rotten fish and Vermeer's Lacemaker to enter his ‘rhinocerontic’ period, preaching his post-holocaustal gospels of nuclear mysticism and cosmogenic atavism; and we follow the labyrinthine mental journeys that lead to the creation of such paintings as the Assumption, and his film script The Flesh Wheelbarrow.
This new expanded edition includes a brilliant and revelatory essay on Salvador Dali, and the importance of his art to the 20th century, by the author J G Ballard.
Illustrated throughout in full colour, with over 60 works by the artist plus numerous documentary photographs.
- Deicide Press
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- 8.40(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Read an Excerpt
...Having finally absorbed everything the Surrealists had published, and imbued with Lautreamont and the Marquis de Sade, I entered the group, armed with a Jesuitical good faith, but determined to become its leader as soon as possible. Why should I burden myself with Christian scruples concerning my new father, Andre Breton, when I had none for the one who had brought me into the world?
So I took surrealism literally, neglecting neither the blood nor excrements on which its advocates fed their diatribes. In the same way that I had applied myself to becoming a perfect atheist by reading my father’s books, I was such a conscientious student of surrealism that I rapidly became the only ‘integral Surrealist’. To such a degree that I was finally expelled from the group because I was too Surrealist. The alleged reasons for this I considered to be of the same nature as those which had prompted my expulsion from my family, Gala-Gradiva, ‘she who advances’, ‘the Immaculate intuition’, had been right once again. Today I can say that of all my certainties, there are only two that cannot be explained by my will to power: one is my faith, which I rediscovered in 1949, and the other is that Gala will always be right about my future.
When Breton discovered my painting, he was shocked by the scatological elements that stained it. This surprised me. I started from shit, which from the psychoanalytical point of view could be interpreted as the happy omen of the gold that – fortunately! – threatened to pour down on me. Subtly, I tried to make the Surrealists believe that these scatological elements could only bring luck to the movement. Invoke though I might the digestive iconography of all ages and all civilisations – the hen that laid the golden eggs, the intestinal delirium of Danae, the ass whose dung was gold – they refused to trust me. I made up my mind at once. Since they would have nothing to do with the shit I offered them so generously, I would keep these treasures and this gold for myself. The famous anagram laboriously composed twenty years later by Breton, ‘Avida Dollars’, might have been proclaimed even at that time.
A mere week spent with the Surrealists was enough to show me that Gala was right. They tolerated to a certain extent my scatological elements. On the other hand a number of other things were declared ‘taboo’. Here I recognised the same prohibitions I had encountered in my family circle. Blood they allowed me. I could add a bit of shit...
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Most famous Surrealist painter of the 20th century, whose name is synonymous with the art movement.
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