After the display of the luminous creations of Gustav Klimt (2018) and Vincent Van Gogh (2019), the Atelier des Lumières in Paris pays tribute to the pioneer of surrealism, Salvador Dalí.

The immersive exhibition Dalí, the endless enigma is a creation carried out by artistic director Gianfranco Iannuzzi. It is a production of Culturespaces Digital. Gianfranco Iannuzzi develops along with Culturespaces this new form of staging in digital art centers in France and around the world.

A space to walk inside the paintings  

The Atelier des Lumières is a space hosting audiovisual artworks. The tour takes place in a restored former nineteenth-century foundry. The visit proposes a modern way of contemplation. Details of paintings and brush strokes stretch across the walls. The visitors walk immersed in the colors and the textures of the frameless canvas. The use of this technology allows appreciating the work of Dalí over the span of sixty years.

Firstly, the visit consists of a longer program dedicated to Salvador Dalí, whilst Pink Floyd’s enchanted songs play in the background, such as Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Another Brick In The Wall and Hey You. Secondly, a shorter program follows which presents the fantastic architecture of Gaudí. Finally, there is a separate studio that hosts more contemporary creations. For this event, studio Nohlab conceived specially for Culturespaces a short narrative experience inviting visitors to observe carefully their surroundings, to question its existence and to open up to new possibilities.

Dalí : the endless enigma

The exhibition retraces the work of Dalí over the course of his life. The first scenes are figurative paintings of a village in Spain in which he spent his childhood. The village is also the place where he welcomes the surrealist group and their ideas. Amongst them, Marx Ernst, Paul Éluard, René Magritte and André Breton. Together, they sought to refuse all logical construction of the mind.

Around 1930, he started applying the ‘paranoiac-critical method, turning his representations away from realism. His productions consist of ‘double images, which are representations opened to multiple interpretations. Here, he explores the line between the visible and the invisible, and he plays with optical illusions.

Then follows a sequence with murals impregnated with mysticism, created in New York. The walls are covered with The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus (1959), a graphic illustration underlining the overflowing imagination of the artist. The visitors will also recognize the projection of Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Waking (1944). This artwork depicts his wife Gala dreaming, resting with objects in a state of suspension, as if frozen in time.

The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus
1959 410x310cm oil/canvas
Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL, USA
Courtesy : The Atelier des Lumières

A multidisciplinary artist

One can only imagine Dalí’s reactions to the projections on the walls of the room. The physicality of his paintings is transposed into a virtual format. These projections are the natural continuation of his visions on the disintegration of the atom, here converted into pure light. Dalí was no stranger to projections and filmography. In effect, at age 25 he had already co-written a surrealist movie with Luis Buñuel, Un Perro Andaluz (1929). He also later collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock in 1945.

In the end, visitors find out that Dalí’s artistry goes well beyond painting. He also explored fashion and jewelry making. For instance, he prepared drawings for a jewelry collection and selected materials (gold, gems, pearls…) that corresponded to colors and symbolic meanings. His influence extends to Haute Couture, as he is still instilling fantasy in the creations of house Schiaparelli until today.

Dalí X Pink Floyd

During the entire program on Dalí, the images are accompanied by the melodies of Pink Floyd. Dalí and Pink Floyd’s artistic processes resonate with each other. These two icons share an imaginary world with obsessive visions meshed with virtuous techniques.

Salvador Dalí, Vestiges ataviques après la pluie, 1934, huile sur toile, 65 x 54 cm, Perls Gallery, New York, photo: © Bridgeman Images; La tentation de Saint-Antoine, 1946, huile sur toile, 89,5 x 119,5 cm, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Bruxelles, photo: © Akg-images ; Galatée aux sphères, 1952, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí – Pour toutes les œuvres de Salvador Dalí : © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, ADAGP 2020
© Culturespaces / Nuit de Chine

When the nuclear bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Dalí became interested in the nuclear structure of matter. The face of his muse Gala, which is fragmented into spheres, is represented on the right side of the picture above. It depicts Dalí’s fascination for theories on the disintegration of the atom. Pink Floyd echoes this common theme with their experimental album Atom Heart Mother (1970).

Destino & Time – the encounter of Salvador Dalí, Walt Disney and Pink Floyd

Their symbiotic relationship was once explored before by a YouTuber who used Time as a soundtrack to Destino, an animation project on which Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney were collaborating back in 1945. Today, Culturespaces finally brings to the audience the coveted collaboration between Dali and Pink Floyd with an entire audiovisual experience.

Visitors can attend the exhibition at the Atelier des Lumières in Paris until January 2022.