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Surround yourself in the wonderful weirdness of Dalí to the tune of Pink Floyd… plus a bonus by Spanish architect Gaudí
The Atelier des Lumières in the city’s 11th arrondissement has reopened after many months of pandemic-related closure to exhibit what they call a “subversive artist” who worked to “astonish the world” – and are doing so to the exciting sounds of Pink Floyd.
This cultural venue features immersive light and sound exhibitions where the artworks are projected on a continuous cycle via 140 BARCO laser video projectors which cast the moving images on some 3,300 square meters of surface area, including the 10-meter-high walls, floors, and chimney.
What a perfect venue for the works of an exciting artist such as Salvador Dalí!
I adore the drama and dreams provoked by his vast oeuvre and have again and again visited the tiny Paris Dali museum just behind the Place de Tertre in Montmarte (see my most recent article in February of 2019.)
Just envision Dali and Pink Floyd joined together to wrap you in their sounds and images!
According to the Atelier’s website: “Dalí’s deep colors and extended and voluminous forms emerge on the walls to the sound of tracks from legendary albums such as The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, plunging visitors into a soaring, peaceful, and troubling world.”
(An example: “Another Brick In the Wall” plays as small squares of images pile brick-like onto a wall).
This exhibit features every aspect of Dali’s works, including the most psychedelic: his paintings, drawings, photographs, installations, films, and archive images.
Floating around you are such images as The Persistence of Memory, the Face of Mae West through red couch lips and its surrounding Surrealist apartment; Atomic Leda, and the Temptation of Saint Anthony. Also included, of course, are the many images both real and dreamlike of Gala – the love of his life.
Stand in the middle of the gigantic room, or sit on the top stair to the open balcony, or sit in one of seats provided for you along the wall, or hide out in a curved room from which you can not only see images pop onto those walls but also nevertheless view the happenings around the walls and ceilings outside.
Watch elephants appear above and across from you on spindly legs, or see a giant tiger emerge from the mouth of a fish first from across the room and then above you and behind you, and finally from everywhere, all simultaneously; or see Monsieur Dali himself looking out at you from a room-size screen or a moment later from an identical small screen to your left while the first appearance has not disappeared but grown or diminished.
Entire walls are colored with complex Dali designs, and then turn black while another but smaller image appears in the midst of the darkness.
Then, you are surrounded – walls, ceiling, and floor by moving imagery such as The Temptation of Saint Anthony – with poor Saint Anthony on your left, and the creatures confronting him (including the giant frothing horse) seemingly about to jump at you from the wall – from several walls.
Images float by, appear and disappear, engulf you or are seen at a seeming distance.
You are immersed.
Your senses are excited.
The Dali colors are seemingly much mor vivid than when seen on a gallery wall and all of the details so much more clear since they are so much closer.
You don’t know which way to turn – but it’s not important because the show continues to wrap around and engulf you regardless of where you are at the moment.
What can I say?
This exposition is an emotional and spectacular experience.
The same thing occurs but to the sound of Rhapsody in Blue, The Doors, and religious music as Dali’s part of the show is replaced by the colorful and unusual imagery and structures of architect Antoni Gaudí – including Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia which was considered by many to be an abomination that looked more like candy than a cathedral, but was loved by Dali.
This part of the show is much shorter, but nevertheless intoxicating. Gaudi’s architectural images are similarly colorful and the music fitting. At one point, multicolored window shapes turn to the sound of Jim Morrison’s Riders On The Storm.
Dali was one of the first artists to heap praises on Gaudí, whose work was considered too avant-garde for the establishment. He wrote in 1933 that Gaudí’s work was “edible” in that it had vital, nutritious properties unlike the sterility of the rest of modern architecture.
How fitting to display the art of these two Catalonians in one combined show.
The formerly industrial space called the Atelier des Lumières consists of a gigantic room with huge walls and high ceilings, alcoves, and an open balcony – the perfect canvas for you to be surrounded by immense reproductions of an artist’s works, accompanied by surround-sound music.
The exhibits are set up so that artworks appear and disappear or float by or grow and diminish on the walls and floor and ceiling, all to the sound of appropriately exciting music.
The Atelier first opened in 2018, featuring Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and the artists of the “Vienna Secession.” I was lucky enough to be in Paris that year, and will never forget my first exposure to the experience – which was to the sound of Beethoven, Chopin and Wagner. I revisited a second and then a third time that year.
Then, the following year, I experienced Van Gogh in the same space. In 2020, I understand that the Atelier featured Monet, Renoir and Chagall.
I first visited this exposition a week ago and again, as in 2018, found once was definitely not enough, so I returned, and wish I didn’t need to fly home to Chicago, because I would love to go a third time!
Don’t miss this unusual and unforgettable experience!
The exhibit will end on January 2, 2022. It is open 7 days a week – until 6 pm Monday through Thursday; until 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays; and until 7 pm on Sundays.
Tickets are 16 euros full price; 15 euros for seniors; 11 euros for those ages 5 to 25 (under 5 free); 13 euros for unemployed, disability and education pass holders; and 48 euros for families (2 adults and 2 children).
Address: 38 rue Saint Maur, 11th.
Tel: +33 (0)1 80 98 46 00)
Lead photo credit : Dali show at Atelier des Lumières © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, ADAGP 2021 © Culturespaces / E. Spiller