No curve was too sharp for them and their bicycle. No puddle was deep enough to stop them. -- Friends by Helme Hein

26 April, 2012

Salvador Dali & Port Lligat

Just over the hill from Cadaques lies the sleepy little town, if you can even call it that, of Port Lligat. This little corner of beauty on the Mediterranean would probably be overlooked by most visitors if it weren't for it's most famous former resident, artist Salvador Dali.  The Dali collection (along with his remains) is housed in the museum he designed in neighboring Figueres, but the house he painted and lived in for over 50 years is open for tours. 
This is Dali's compound from the top of the hill as you walk into Port Lligat.  It started as a one room abode for him and his wife, Gala, but grew into a sprawling estate over the years.

I have appreciated Dali's work for it's thought provoking use of symbols and imagery (see how I sounded like I know something about art?), but I can't say I find it aesthetically pleasing. Expecting his somewhat scary art to translate into a somewhat kooky art labyrinth, I was surprised to find a relatively subdued home that incorporated the beauty of the Spanish coast.  

His art studio was flooded with natural light.  These are copies of the two final works done in the house.  

 Dali and Gala's bedroom, the only bedroom in the house, looked toward a mirror that reflected the rising sun from the window in his bedroom.  Genius idea. I did take a few more pictures inside his house, but none came out very clear.  The house rambled from one sitting room to the next, each filled with small trinkets, photos and unique pieces of art, but nothing so strange that would hint at the types of images in his art. Well, there was a taxidermy polar bear wearing sunglasses and loads of gold necklaces. But it seemed to fit right in. 

Eggs are a common theme in Dali's work and they were found all over the compound.  If I remember correctly, the whole egg symbolizes life, and a cracked or fried egg symbolizes intra-uterine, or as close as you can get to the beginning of life. 

Christ of Rubbish
in the backyard

No, it's not just you.  The pool really is in the shape of a giant phallus. 

Where Dali did give us a little peak into his psyche (or sense of humor?) was in the pool area: a pink lips lounger, a penis shaped pool and a Michelin man spouting fountain.  There was also a phone booth and a wall shaped like his mustache.  

Dali lived here until his wife's death in 1982, at which point it was said he could not return because it was too painful to be there without her.  A very touching tribute.  The house wasn't decked out in Dali's works, so I can't say I enjoy his work any more after visiting, but it was nice to step back in time for a moment and catch a little glimpse of what might inspire a great artist. 

1 comment:

Scott and Heather said...

What a cool place to have visited! I have seen photos of that pool before, so funny. I love the white stucco, I dream of having a home of white stucco with blue trim. I guess if I win the lottery it can happen.