Definitely Dalí, an extensive free exhibition of surreal artworks by infamous artist Salvador Dalí, is opening in Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre this Wednesday.
Some 12 gallery-sized Dalí sculptures and 10 Dalí artworks from Vancouver’s Chali-Rosso Gallery will be on display in the shopping mall until Sunday, October 1.
Dalí’s Dance of Time 1, a monumental sculpture of a melting clock, will also feature, after being on public display on the streets of Vancouver since May.
Gallery owner Susanna Strem told Daily Hive the works being exhibited are very Dalí-esque and representative of his unique surrealist persona.
“Dalí was maybe one of the only artists who was so much at one with his art,” said Strem.
“Dalí really pushed boundaries into the extreme, taking symbolism, more expressively representing the dream world, the subconscious world. He really put it out there.”
Strem said shoppers can expect to find works expressing a contrast, between time and timelessness, life and death, even just fast and slow.
Or in the case of the Dalinian Dancer, light and heavy. The piece, the heaviest in the exhibition, is “gracious and beautiful,” said Strem.
“The skill is what is so amazing here,” she said. “This is a heavy bronze sculpture… but it is so light. The bronze gets this movement. For me, it’s like a flamenco dancer.”
Also part of the exhibition will be Birth of Venus and Dream Passage, both artworks that heap on the symbolism of eggs, ants, and crutches.
“It looks random, but it’s not. Dalí is very organized,” said Strem, referring to the Birth of Venus.
“It’s again the contrast – this is the egg, a new life, a start. And the ants are representing the passing, the decay, the deconstruction.”
Dream Passage can also be seen in the form of a sculpture, Alice In Wonderland. Dalí often created the same artwork in different visual representations, said Strem.
While some of Dalí’s symbolism seems evident, Strem says it’s all in the eye of the beholder.
“Symbolism is about what it means to the viewer,” she said.
“Just let your imagination go and whatever it means to you, that’s it, that’s the artwork.”
“After Dalí did his artwork, once it’s in the gallery, it’s out of his hands. From then on, it’s the viewer and the artwork.”
Fast forward to the 21st century and it’s now the viewer, the artwork and the shopping – an oasis of surrealism amid a sea of consumerism.
Strem believes it’s important to see art in public spaces – whether that’s in a downtown street or in a shopping mall.
“People live part of their lives there,” she said. “It’s good we have museums and galleries, but this doesn’t end here, it shouldn’t end here. Let’s follow the people.”
Meanwhile, gallery director Oree Gianacopoulos will give a free presentation at the Oakridge Centre on Thursday night to discuss Dalí’s history and symbolism.
As for Strem, she says she really thinks art should always be around us, because art is about understanding ourselves.
“These are big words, but this is it,” she said. “If an artwork talks to somebody, then it will enhance their life.
“It will change something – even a small fraction or a bigger understanding of what I am.”
Of course, art – especially Dalí’s masterpieces – are fun too.
“He’s good. He’s really good,” laughs Strem.
“Enjoy it – it’s not work, that you have to un-work and understand, it’s Dalí…It came out in expression, and we’re on the receiving end!”
When: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 until Sunday, October 1, 2017 (public presentation on Thursday, September 14, 2017)
Time: 9:30 am to 7 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays, 9:30 am to 9 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 11 am to 6 pm on Sundays (public presentation from 5 pm to 7 pm)
Where: Oakridge Centre’s West Gallery – 650 W. 41st Avenue, Vancouver
Info: Online at oakridgecentre.com