Now it’s Passover, and I still love it better than any holiday I ever spent overseas. The mere fact of hearing “chag sameach” at the beginning and the end of every conversation, and seeing it on top of every bus makes me smile. Only in Israel.
Seeing as I don’t work on chol hamoed (except for today, but it’s alright) because I have a normal boss (thank the Benevolent Goddess), I had a chance to catch the Salvador Dali exhibit in Haifa yesterday. I ordered the tickets a few days ago and picked the middle of the day so that Elad and I would not have to stress to get there. From Jerusalem, it’s pretty much at the other end of the world.
But then, we decided to leave early and take a detour to Tel Aviv. We walked around Dizingoff rather aimlessly, looking for a good quality clothing store, and found none, so we settled for a coffee shop and ordered a (fucking awesome) milkshake.
We started heading to Haifa at 14:00. The exhibit was set to start at 16:00. I was worried we won’t make it on time and my boyfriend said that Tel Aviv is closer to Haifa than Jerusalem and that it should take us no more than an hour. But what we didn’t know is that Tel Aviv has more cars than people and that on Passover, the entire world and its sister goes for a road trip. So we were stuck in traffic the entire fucking way. I got super upset and pissed off because I stayed up late the previous night to make food for the road, and I tried getting up early and leave early and I was so excited and looking forward to it, and still I would miss it because of awful traffic.
We finally made it at 16:00 sharp just as they started letting people in. I think that if we would have made it a little earlier and I wouldn’t have been such a wreck by the time we did, I would have enjoyed the exhibit a hell of a lot more. I would have also probably noticed more features of the exhibit that I would have taken advantage of, like audio material with information about every artwork, extra rooms with more art, take more pictures… But I had to settle with what I had.
All in all, I enjoyed the exhibit, because Dali is really a genius. I love his art and the recurring themes in his images. Even without a signature, you could recognize Dali’s unmistakable lines, curves, energy, movement and life pulsing through any piece of his artwork.
I especially loved the series of paintings he made in homage to Israel and in memory of the Holocaust. I was so proud to see how much he supported the Land of Israel and how obvious he made it in his art. The exhibit featured a series of paintings of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 10 Commandments. It also included paintings with Israel flags, Israeli soldiers, victims of the Holocaust, an homage to the Israeli national anthem, the Western Wall, and more.
In the hall leading towards the main exhibition, there were quotes by Dali (translated to Hebrew and English) highlighting his sense of humor, as well as his extreme sense of hubris. As my boss said, “Dali’s so full of himself.” Yes he is, but if I could draw half as good as he did when he was 4 years old, I would be full of myself too.
My favorite part of the exhibit was the statues, ranging from enormous to minuscule. Dali’s obvious hand is present in all of them, and the recurring themes abound. Every time I see Dali’s statues, the first time was at the Ralli Museum in Cesarea, I am amazed over and over again at how something so hard, heavy and static as a statue can exude so much life, grace and movement.
I liked how they included a legend of the recurring themes listing what each one of the objects stands for, as symbols and metaphors. I took a picture of that legend to keep it in mind whenever I look at Dali’s paintings. My favorite themes are eggs (form of hidden life, like seeds), crutches (an object to lean on at a certain point in life. To hold something that falls), and burning giraffes. Unfortunately, the latter one wasn’t mentioned in the legend.
The only thing I regretted was that I didn’t see any of the photography work by Dali, such as the skull formed by naked women or the photo of Dali, a cat and a jet of water in mid air. I also regretted not seeing a projection of any of Dali’s films such as Un Chien Andalou. Although I’ve seen it on YouTube a million times, I would have loved to see it again projected in a dark room on a bigger screen.
Also, if there were any of his famous paintings, Persistence of the Memory, A Dream Caused by a Bee Flying Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Waking, Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of a New Man, or any of the paintings I’ve seen in the enormous Dali book I have at home, I didn’t find them at the exhibit. That was the most upsetting part. When they said that over 500 original works would be showcased at the exhibit, I expected to see those as well.
Dali is in fact a true artist and a true genius. But his most genius work remains in his house in Figueres and at the Dali Museum in Barcelona. I was truly blessed to have been there. No exhibit can come close.
And now, the pictures.
Peace, love and Vision of a Genius