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Subconscious Trail Through Dalian Symbols

A dream is the subconscious world of an individual. What he sees in the dream is at times known to him. But he also sees dreams that are strange and many a time disturbing. Sitting with a spoon over a plate, Salvador Dali relaxed his body and tried to fall asleep. His intention was to map those surreal images that housed his mind just before the clank of the spoon and plate broke his sleep.

Such was the surrealist artist Salvador Dali whose relentless persuasion of the unconscious mind and dreams gave the world multilayered metaphorical dream concepts like ‘Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening’ or ‘Dream caused by the flight of a bee’ in the form of Dali’s painting. He called them ‘hand-painted dream photograph’. The painting shows a bare-bodied women sleeping on a ledge of rock that seems to float on a calm sea. This woman is hailed to be Gala, Dali’s wife, nine years younger to him. On the right lower side of the bare-bodied woman is a pomegranate, a Christian symbol for fertility and resurrection. But on the pomegranate flies a bee that symbolizes the Virgin traditionally. The pomegranate is placed between two droplets of water. On the left upper side, a pomegranate in the space bursts into a fish. This fish spews out a tiger which in turn spews out another tiger. A bayonet is placed just in front of the tiger in a position to attack the woman. Above all of these, there is an elephant with long Flamingo legs with an obelisk on its back. Contextually, Naoshi Koriyama, the Japanese poet’s ‘Unfolding Bud’ comes into relevance which establishes that artistic creations are multilayered in interpretation like the multilayered petals of a water lily.

Dali’s paintings were highly influenced by his religious inclinations. The paintings of his early years were aesthetic in connotation as his father didn’t want him to be a catholic like his mother. But his relocation to the USA made him a Catholic though not a blind one. The world of Surrealists welcomed Dali when it identified strong surrealism in the film Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) which he created with his friend Luis Benuel. The short scenes of unexplained violence and rotting corpse in this film were typical of the bizarre imageries that characterised Dali’s painting. Freud’s influence on Dali’s painting became conspicuous but his relationship with the father of Surrealism, Andre Breton was rather strained. Freud’s psychoanalytic studies mentored Dali to develop Paranoic critical method and Oniric critical method. But after 1939, Dali was influenced by Classicism and later to commercial culture in the USA.

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