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Hologram: First Cylindric Chromo-Hologram Portrait of Alice Cooper’s Brain

Date: 1973
Material Used: Hologram
Size: 68 x 25 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

Throughout his career, Dali wanted to be more than just a traditional oil painter. He accomplished this in two ways – by experimenting with the visual image and by working in other media. Through such non-painterly projects as writing, filmmaking, fashion design, and object construction, Dali broadened his perspective on art. Trained as a painter, new ideas from other media inspired Dali’s painting. For example, Dali’s creative artists’ primer The 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship led him to explore science more fully in his paintings in the 1950s. As a painter, Dali questioned the traditional ways in which an image represents a subject. Experiments such as the double image allowed Dali to make an object become something completely different, undermining stability and adding a level of chaos to his work.

In the early 1970s, Dali again looked beyond painting for inspiration. He was one of the first artists to explore holography, a photographic medium using lasers to record an object so that it can reappear as a three-dimensional image. Dali was completely captivated by this idea for it allowed him to create an image in three dimensions where he could be in front of and behind his subject. One of Dali’s most successful experiments was his Alice Cooper hologram. Working with artist holographer Selwyn Lissack, Dali created a rotating three-dimensional image of the rock star. Here Cooper either sings into or bites off the head of a “shish kebabbed” Venus de Milo statue. Cooper wears a real diamond tiara, and there is a plaster brain stuffed with a chocolate éclair and real ants suspended behind his head. Cooper’s concerts featured guillotines, electric chairs, and plenty of fake blood. His performances appealed to Dali who said that Cooper was “the best exponent of total confusion I know.” Perhaps this hologram captures this confusion in a way that Dali’s oil paintings never could.

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