I Dream of Dali

It was the evening before we were to visit the Dali Museum at Figueres. We had booked into the lovely Ronda hotel, and after dinner and short walk around the area we settled into our large comfortable room with its balcony and cool tiled floors.

That night I dreamed of Salvador Dali. I dreamed of the Museum we were to visit in the morning. In my dream the entrance of the Museum under a dome was full of scaffolding and ladders. There was not a work of art to be seen. I sensed Dali on my right, and asked why it was all so unfinished, and there were no works of art. ‘It is waiting for you to see it to be complete,’ said Dali. And then I woke.

We rose next morning, dressed, breakfasted and set out on foot for the Museum. On entering the Museum I was amazed to see that the entrance was exactly as I had dreamed, except for the fact that it was of course complete. I stood wondering, beneath the dome I had dreamed of earlier in the night. Then we wandered through the Museum, and were delighted by the playful creativity of this genius. I had never really thought much of Dali, writing him off as an exhibitionist. But his technique of painting alone was impeccable. ‘Learn to paint like the masters,’ he had said, ‘and you can do whatever you want.’ I felt I ‘got’ him at last.

There was a painting that unfolded overhead like an origami sculpture to reveal itself after a coin was put in a slot. There was another one in a glass case, where, if you put your nose and forehead against the angle of the case where two panes of glass met, the painting within sprang into three dimensions. There was the Mae West room where the couch, fireplace and pictures on the far wall transformed into a face when seen from above and at the right angle. I could go on and on. His work was full of humour and play. Well-known paintings and tiny masterpieces lined labyrinthine passages on the different floors, and we became lost, unable to find our way out again, as Dali had intended.

Eventually, outside once more, we found a small café to have lunch, and on returning we discovered the small doorway from the street that was the entrance to the jewellery museum. Inside was a long narrow room lined with glass cases. There we saw such wonders as the Queen’s Heart, a golden heart shaped brooch with an opening in front of it where could be seen a core of pulsating rubies. There was a pair of earrings wittily shaped like telephone receivers. A sign on the wall behind these proclaimed Dali’s words: ‘In the future we will all be hearing one another’s thoughts.’

The thing that caught my eye however was the sign on the wall at the very end of this room. There I read the words Dali was quoted as saying—that his works are all unfinished, and wait for the viewer to see them to complete them.

At that moment I had to vivid sensation of Dali chuckling quietly close to my right ear, where he had stood and spoken to me in my dream.

(Image of Salvador Dali courtesy Allan Warren/Wikipedia)