by Salvador Dali
WHEN, IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN CULTURE IT BECOMES NECESSARY FOR A PEOPLE TO DESTROY THE INTELLECTUAL BONDS THAT UNITE THEM WITH THE LOGICAL SYSTEMS OF THE PAST, IN ORDER TO CREATE FOR THEMSELVES AN ORIGINAL MYTHOLOGY WHICH, CORRESPONDING TO THE VERY ESSENCE AND TOTAL EXPRESSION OF THEIR BIOLOGICAL REALITY, WILL BE RECOGNIZED BY THE CHOICE SPIRITS OF OTHER PEOPLES – THEN THE RESPECT THAT IS DUE PUBLIC OPINION MAKES IT NECESSARY TO LAY BARE THE CAUSES THAT HAVE FORCED THE BREAK WITH THE OUTWORN AND CONVENTIONAL FORMULAS OF A PRAGMATIC SOCIETY.
“The committee responsible for the Amusement Area of the World’s Fair has forbidden me to erect on the exterior of ‘The Dream of Venus’ the image of a woman “with the head of a fish. These are their exact words: ‘A woman with the head of a fish is impossible.’ This decision on the part of the committee seems to me an extremely grave one […] because we are concerned here “with the negation of a right that is of an order purely poetic, and imaginative, attacking no moral or political consideration. I have always believed that the first man who had the idea of terminating a woman’s body with the tail of a fish must have been a pretty fair poet, but I am equally certain that the second man who repeated the idea was nothing but a bureaucrat. In any case the inventor of the first siren’s tail would have had my difficulties with the committee of the Amusement Area. Had there been similar committees in Immortal Greece, fantasy would have been banned and, what is worse, the Greeks would never have created their sensational and truculently Surrealist mythology, in which, if it is true that there exists no woman with the head of a fish (as far as I know) there figures indisputably a Minotaur bearing the terribly realistic head of a bull.”
“Any authentically original idea, presenting itself without ‘known antecedents’, is systematically rejected, toned down, mauled, chewed, rechewed, spewed forth, destroyed, yes, and even “worse — reduced to the most monstrous of mediocrities. The excuse offered is always the vulgarity of the vast majority of the public. I insist that this is absolutely false. The public is infinitely superior to the rubbish that is fed to it daily. The masses have always known where to find true poetry. The misunderstandin..g has come about entirely through those ‘middlemen of culture’ who, with their lofty airs and superior quackings, come between the creator and the public.”
Dali, returning to capitals, launched an impassioned appeal to his American fellows: “ARTISTS AND POETS OF AMERICA! IF YOU WISH TO RECOVER THE SACRED SOURCE OF YOUR OWN MYTHOLOGY AND YOUR OWN INSPIRATION, THE TIME HAS COME TO REUNITE YOURSELVES WITHIN THE HISTORIC BOWELS OF YOUR PHILADELPHIA, TO RING ONCE MORE THE SYMBOLIC BELL OF YOUR IMAGINATIVE INDEPENDENCE, AND, HOLDING ALOFT IN ONE HAND FRANKLIN’S LIGHTNING ROD, AND IN THE OTHER LAU-TREAMONT’S UMBRELLA, TO DEFY THE STORM OF OBSCURANTISM THAT IS THREATENING YOUR COUNTRY! LOOSE THE BLINDING LIGHTNING OF YOUR ANGER AND THE AVENGING THUNDER OF YOUR PARANOIAC INSPIRATION!”
Dali went on: “Only the violence and duration of your hardened dream can resist the hideous mechanical civilization that is your enemy, that is also the enemy of the ‘..pleasure-..principle’ of all men. It is man’s right to love women with the ecstatic heads of fish. It is man’s right to decide that lukewarm telephones are disgusting, and to demand telephones that are as cold, green and aphrodisiac as the augur-troubled sleep of the canhandes. Telephones as barbarous as bottles will free themselves of the lukewarm ornamentation of Louis XV spoons and will slowly cover with glacial shame the hybrid decors of our suavely degraded decadence […]“
And, finally reverting one more time to capitals: “ONE THING IS CERTAIN[…] YOU
WHO ARE LIKE THE VERY STALK OF THE AIR, THE HALF CUT FLOWER OF HEAVEN! YOU, MAD AS THE MOON, NEW YORK! […] YOU MAY WELL BE PROUD. BE PROUD. I GO AND I ARRIVE. I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART.”