Surrealism and Film Study Day – Part 1: Introduction

Introduction

On the occasion of Tate Modern’s major exhibition Dalí & Film, this study day explores the work of Salvador Dalí in relation to the wider links between surrealism and film.

Dalí’s own collaborations with Hollywood icons from the Marx Brothers to Hitchcock and his fascination with the great slapstick artists of early cinema are put in the context of both his own ventures into filmmaking with Luis Buñuel and the persistent lure of the surreal in contemporary art and film. Speakers include renowned Dalí expert Dawn Ades, Tate curator Matthew Gale, film expert Ian Christie and Elliott King, who researches Dalí’s later work. Chaired by Gill Perry, Head of Art History at the Open University.

Surrealism and Film Study Day – Part 2: Session 1: Dalí & Film Exhibition

Session 1: Dalí & Film Exhibition: An Introduction

Speaker: Matthew Gale, Head of Displays at Tate Modern

Matthew Gale gives an introduction to the Dalí & Film exhibition at Tate Modern. He discusses the curatorial issues concerning the show that arise from the juxtaposition of Dalí’s paintings, photographs and drawings with his film imagery.

Further Reading

Paul Hammond, The Shadow and its Shadow: Surrealist Writings on Cinema, London 1978 and San Francisco 2000

Paul Hammond, L’Age d’or, London 1997

Haim Finkelstein ed., The Collected Writings of Salvador Dalí, Cambridge 1998

Fèlix Fanés, Salvador Dalí: La Construcción de la imagen 1925–30, Madrid 1999, revised as Salvador Dalí, The Construction of the Image 1925–30, New Haven and London 2007

Robert Short, The Age of Gold: Surrealist Cinema, London 2003

Dawn Ades ed., Salvador Dalí: The Centenary Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Palazzo Grassi, Venice and Philadelphia Museum of Art 2004

Michael Richardson, Surrealism and Cinema, Oxford and New York 2006

And obviously: Matthew Gale ed., Dali & Film, exhibition catalogue, Tate Modern, London 2007

Surrealism and Film Study Day – Part 3: Session 2: Why Film?

Session 2: Why Film?

Speaker: Dawn Ades, Director of the AHRC Centre for Studies of Surrealism and Professor of Art History and Theory at the University of Essex

Was there, for Dalí, a special appeal in film? Was it an alternative to his paintings, adaptable to certain effects beyond the reach of the canvas? Was it an extension of the pictorial image, or rather of his writings? Dawn Ades reviews Dalí’s affair with film, a story of disappointments and optimism.

Further Reading

Paul Hammond L’Age d’or BFI Film Classics 1997

Dawn Ades Morphologies of Desire in Salvador Dali: The Early Years South Bank Centre 1994

Salvador Dali The Rotting Donkey 1930 in Haim Finkelstein The Collected Writings of Salvador Dali CUP 1998 p.223

Translation of Dali Art Film, Anti-Artistic Film 1927 in the Dali & Film, exhibition catalogue, Tate Modern, London 2007

Surrealism and Film Study Day – Part 4: Discussion 1

Surrealism and Film Study Day – Part 5: Session 3: Elliot King

Session 3: Dalí, Fonzie, and what ‘Late Dalí and Film’ can tell us about Late Dalí and Everything Else.

Speaker: Elliot King, a specialist in Dalí’s post-war art and cosmogony.

Speaker: Elliot King, a specialist in Dalí’s post-war art and cosmogony. His first book, Dalí, Surrealism and Cinema 2007, is published by Kamera Books. Critics have often identified Dalí’s 1941 rejection of Surrealism in favour of ‘classicism’ as the ‘tipping point’ when his work began to decline. His activity with film offers a compelling challenge to that history. Dalí and Film has been less restricted by the chronological and thematic partitions that divide the artist’s work in other media. Using the exhibition as a springboard, Elliott King suggests that the conventional categories used in classifying the artist’s work – ‘early’, ‘Surrealist’, ‘late’, ‘classic’, ‘atomic’, etc. – are useful but also potentially limiting; as Dalí and Film shows, abandoning them can lead to a refreshing view of Dalí’s complete – and continuous – oeuvre.

Further Reading

Robert Cozzolino, Why Are Salvador Dalí’s ‘Late Works’ His Most Contentious?, in Hank Hine, William Jeffett and Kelly Reynolds (eds.), Persistence and Memory: New Critical Perspectives on Dalí at the Centennial (Milan: Bompiani Arte, 2004)

Salvador Dalí, Open Letter to Salvador Dalí (New York: J.H. Heineman, 1967). Originally published in French as Lettre ouverte à Salvador Dalí (Paris: Albin Michel, 1966)

Salvador Dalí, The Last Scandal of Salvador Dalí (New York: Julien Levy Gallery [exh. cat.], 1941). Written under the pseudonym Felipe Jacinto.Reprinted in Haim Finkelstein (ed., trans.), The Collected Writings of Salvador Dalí (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)

Elliott H. King, Dalí, Surrealism and Cinema (Herts: Kamera Books, 2007)

George Stolz, The Late Great Salvador Dalí, ARTNews 104, no. 2, February 2005

Surrealism and Film Study Day – Part 6: Session 4: The marvellous is popular!

Session 4: The marvellous is popular! Dalí in the context of Hollywood surrealism.

Speaker: Ian Christie, Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck College, director of the London Screen Study Collection and vice-president of Europa-Cinemas.

Surrealism started as a revolt against the idea of elite avant-gardism, and even if it eventually became a new avant-garde, its adherents maintained an enthusiasm for popular culture, including mainstream and genre cinema, becoming arbiters in this field. This presentation examines two strands in Hollywood cinema to which Dalí, like other Surrealists, was drawn – the carnivalesque and the erotic-romantic – and will also consider the Freudian morality drama, to which he eventually contributed.

Further Reading

Paul Hammond, ed, The Shadow and its Shadow: Surrealist Writings on the Cinema, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 2000

Michael Richardson, Surrealism and Cinema, Berg, Oxford, 2006

Alyce Mahon, Surrealism and the Politics of Eros, 1938–68, Thames and Hudson, 2005

Ado Kyrou, Le surrealisme au cinema, Editions Arcanes, Paris, 1953

Ian Christie, French Avant-Garde Film in the Twenties: From Specificity to Surrealism in Philip Drummond et al, eds., Film as Film: Formal Experiment in Film, 1910–75, Arts Council of Great Britain Exhibition Catalogue, 1979 pp.37–46

Surrealism and Film Study Day – Part 7: Discussion 2

On the occasion of Tate Modern’s major exhibition Dalí & Film, this study day explores the work of Salvador Dalí in relation to the wider links between surrealism and film.