Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Seeking absolutley nothing (Death and life of Salvador Dali)

Figueres 11-5-1904
Figueres 23-1-1989
Valle de la Sangre 23-1-2019

During the winter of 1992 I found myself walking in front of an open-air bookshop by the seafront of Pescara. I was looking for a book about cats. On the shelf above the volumes dedicated to felines, I saw a cover in which a bald man seemed to look for something at his feet, standing against a wide semi-desert landscape whose perspective receded to the sea horizon. It was the Salvador Dali's painting "The Pharmacist of Ampurdan seeking absolutely nothing”. And that was the cover of one of the first monographs published after his death. By a meaningful coincidence, someone had recently created a chalk fresco copy of Dali's "Corpus Hypercubicus" on the near square dominated by the Pietro Cascella's fountain "The ship". Until then I didn’t know so much about him. At 7 I just read a brief bio in an old book while stuck in bed for recovering from a fever. In the same period, I glanced at a framed print of “Woman with a head of roses” in the dim light of a room in my maternal uncle’s house. I felt there was something familiar and ominous in the mood of that image, as if it was a slide flickering from an age (not a different life) I lived prior to my childhood. That archaic feeling haunted my infancy, making me enjoy more the mysteries of places and books evoking solitude and distant past than the company of my playmates. Sometime when I was sick and alone in my bed leafing through artbooks, my cat stared at me from behind the glass of the French window. Only that non-human presence was able to share and preserve the magic of that solitude.
Somehow it was fateful that, while looking for a manual about cats I ended up buying one about the quest for nothing.
That enthralling Nothing was waiting to be populated by the hidden fauna swarming in the sea of Time in front of me.

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