AT 34 went to see exhibition The Dali Experience at Old County Hall. See how Dali’s huge ego might offend other activists, it is just too dominant. It has huge popular appeal, that almost takes it away from art. It is already postmodernist, already a challenge. But it is one man’s vision People continue to attack Dali and they continue to denigrate his last years.
For the singularity of his vision he needs to make a claim. Compare the importance of the law of Thelema to Crowley in establishing his claim to the dominance of his ego.
Dali’s sculptures are themselves very impressive. All is the reflection of individual genius. Some critics would want to reject the whole idea of that. But in some respects he is really very postmodernist. His showmanship and financial exploitation. In its way a cultural product of interest for its own sake.
196 Desire. Dali’s desire to kill and cut women. But not really desire is it?
AN 140 Dali, see the intellectual strength of his mature style at age 27. Employing the fanaticism of the church baroque. What I once found so satisfying in Dali, Yet I can see how it can be like disorder of madness. Especially when I think of one whom I saw last Wednesday in the loony bin. And I have become more hostile to Freud mainly because he is so popular. And then Dali is so popular in America. He must work on several levels. Extremity of alienation, eccentricity, decadent perversity. Yet his decadent elitism is entirely genuine. He works on that level, yet projects that in to a wide popular appeal which is an extraordinary and rare achievement.
What Orwell wrote about him shows only partial understanding. He did not see the aesthetic completeness of his visionary affirmation. How his pictures can satisfy and why they do no harm at all.
Dali’s Spanish women. I would like to fuck one.
AI 195 Dali picks out the surrealist acts, like cutting off his grandmother’s lock of hair. …every man is every child in potentis.
AR 73 Eccentric I am myself, futile, unconnected. My ineffectuality something to do with my rage. Certain positions I think of as completely contemptible. I am an extreme misfit. Underlying it is a sexual malaise that resembles Dali. Dali’s genius could be interesting seen in the Lombrosian light. Timidity. Worlds of suppressed possibility. Values that have never reached their full potential. The man feeling the breasts in Un Chien Andalou. Of course there is Freud here and Freud expresses something of this. But it goes beyond that. The genius in Freud.
AH 9 The will to the adult, the will of the child. What the obstacles that are to be encountered. In children there comes to be so much hope, so much promise. It is so rarely that it comes to anything.
What is success in adult terms? One looks to the rarest of the rare, the mages and the true eccentrics, Dali, Rasputin.
Dali’s greatness has been much disputed lately. I would say that it lies in this as well as in his paintings. His best paintings and his character go together.
Only the eccentric captures the spontaneous assertiveness of the child, escapes the imputation that his life is a surrender to someone else’s patterns.
The imputation. Spontaneous responses to all the dharmas. The loss of freshness in the majority of people, loss of own will, own taste, on so many matters. Obviously they retain a certain amount, but a great deal is lost.
AC 250 When Dali spread stories about Bunuel’s atheism the authorities in consequence forced Bunuel to resign from his job at that job at the New York MOMA and Buneul slapped Dali’s face in Fifth Avenue and Dali fell to the ground, ‘how low of Dali’, one might think. But then again, how characteristic, how witty and piss taking. Those idiot Americans.
AB 212 How an individualist can become a totalitarian. Study the psychological process, for it is very important. It probably applies to Wagner and Hitler too. Emotionally hypersensitised , a kind of weakness of the will that makes it virtually impossible to resist temptation, kind of junkie, allured by the emotional temptation of slavery.
In slavery a kind of rest from yourself. Consider its emotional allure, which seems to outweigh the diminishing of happiness through restrictions on personal freedom.
Insofar as your are restricted, it would seem you have less possibility of satisfying yourself.
But people like Rousseau and Augustine claim to offer an emotional freedom which outweighs this, to make you more alive. Thus it is that a humane and self indulgent individualism voluntarily walks into slavery with its eyes open.
Wordsworth offered a similar emotional freedom, but he was English and Protestant and managed to integrate it tidily with healthy attitude in other spheres of experience.
The same evil, of course , is anticipated in Plato.
Try and understand how people become Catholics. What Christianity offers. I am sure Dali offers a clue. See how neoplatonic philosophy became Christian philosophy. See it from the magician's point of view. Dogmatic belief opens up new experiences, then try dogmatic belief.
There is a point of view from which the distinction between faith and doubt vanishes.
One can see Dali’s point that Christian faith is surrealism. He actually likes the Christianity of Rome from a visual and architectural point of view. But much as I appreciate the Blavatskyan or Rosicrucian myth of hidden masters or adepts, history is probably not really like that at all,
Faith as satisfying desires, therefore as triumphalist. The curious mentality of the Borgias.
AX 136 Dali it is said tapped into our deepest anxieties.
AV 157 To Treadwells for talk on surrealism by working surrealist. Idea that Dali was not a true surrealist because a surrealist could not be a fascist. Dali's dubious political record.
AW 328 Ridiculous to call Dali a fascist. Even his love of monarchy and aristocracy is well subordinated to his surrealism. Dali’s’ sheer intelligence and hard work comes out in all he does.
Spanish Civil War - a more monstrous thing than conventional history has accepted. Simplistic attitudes war brings, the intelligent man denounced as a coward.
336 Dali writing about the war and the resistance in Hidden Faces. Feeling that perhaps he was not the man to write it. Different levels on which it could be done. The frivolous adventure story contrasts with the serious originality of Céline of Sartre. But what he says has hardly any depth; think of his populism. Is he counting on the public? There is little of the shock on expects. Far less outrageous people have produced far more outrageous literature. Real object of fiction to recreate a world, a time. Read Dali’s fiction to understand Dali.
The badness of the novel. Bad panting is hard to identify, partly because the flexibility of aesthetic conventions in the case of modern art, but there is a trashiness about the novel, love themes that suggest Mills and Boon.
GG 191 Dalis’s description of his childhood reminds me very closely of my own,
Reactions to frustration. It seems to me that while art is one mode of resolving the tensions produced, thought is a higher mode than art. As a child I had just the same kind of obsessionality and fantasy life as Dali except where it comes to romantic fantasies about little girls. I used to have a very rich fantasy life as a child and adolescent. One might say that I had developed fantasies as a creative reaction frustration. For some time therefore I had a strongly artistic temperament. Subsequently I discovered what is perhaps the higher response mode, thinking.
200 Dali’s remark about the importance of impressionism to him as the first anti-academic theory,
221 Surrealism was the culmination and perfection of the symbolist movement. The conquest of the irrational, in Dali’s phrase. A triumph of logic or over logic, the reign of sheer delight, cutting across all the logical necessities which appear to make for suffering.
Surrealism, the victory of the imagination, reaching its apotheosis in the great painter, Dali. His admiration for the insects with the hard skeleton outside, leaving them to be completely soft inside.
265 Faberge eggs. No real sense of beauty, of style whatever, Dali discovered it as the ugliness art which one may make a joke, Warhol is the democratic Dali.
AS 192 My immediate objective of producing a work of genius. The dependence of genius upon balls. Idea that a woman could not be a genius. Psychological features that differ between men and women.. the kind of enraged individual isolation. Dali explaining to a woman why women cannot be great artists. All balls.
AU 183 Dali reader of Lacan’s 1933 treatise on paranoia.
188 Dali’s sadistic feelings. The intensity of the feeling. A pain and a tension that brings a quite tremendous relief when it is discharged. Connection between Mozart and Jack the Ripper.
BD 71 Madrid airport. Hints of Dali.
BG 139 Breton. The theory of surrealism. Theory behind Dali. Dada nihilism given an affirmative twist. Obvious influence of Rimbaud.

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