As part of The Dalí Museum’s current special exhibition Magritte & Dalí, visitors are invited first to examine and then interactively experience the worlds of surrealists René Magritte and Salvador Dalí. Magritte and Dalí embody the aspirations of Surrealism by challenging our notion of what is real. Their art questions the nature of reality through unforgettable imagery. For this special exhibition, The Dalí Museum partnered with Pixel Rain Digital, a local company, to create an environment and experiences inspired by the lofty imaginations of these artists.
“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.” – René Magritte
The exhibition space itself is reminiscent of the Surrealist spaces created in paint by Magritte and Dalí. In this theatrical setting, visitors can examine the mind-bending works of these artists while exploring the artistic dialogue between them. Whereas both artists create visual enigmas, Magritte and Dalí use radically different styles. After exploring the galleries devoted to painting, guests are invited to interact with environments inspired by Magritte’s and Dalí’s desire to challenge perception.
The Cloud Room
Following a trip through the deeply dramatic galleries, a surprising twist awaits: at the end of a red-curtained path is a room bursting with light and imagination. This multi-dimensional Cloud Room envelops guests in one of the two artists’ often-used visual elements – clouds.
Visitors will notice clouds in many of the exhibition’s paintings. Salvador Dalí famously created surreal landscapes featuring clouds, in what he referred to as “hand-painted dream photographs.” Magritte, on the other hand, uses clouds as a serial motif in his artwork. In Magritte’s painting Black Magic (1945, on display), he camouflages his wife among the sky. In his words, “It is an act of black magic to turn a woman’s flesh into sky.” Stylistically, Magritte’s symbolic clouds float invitingly and comfortably, while Dalí’s skies often seem haunted by their brooding presence.
After traveling through the immersive cloud room, visitors are invited to photograph themselves beyond the bounds of the ordinary. Utilizing augmented reality (AR) technology, visitors can see and photograph themselves as the artists might have seen them: as an anonymous everyman in a bowler hat, obscured by a green apple, in the style of Magritte’s The Son of Man (1946, not on view); or as a figure with a window-like cut-out that Dalí might have added to his The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition (1934, on display in this special exhibition).
René Magritte was fascinated by the enigma within the ordinary, often featuring the “no-man” or the “every-man” in his paintings. Salvador Dalí sought the visionary and extraordinary, lacing his paintings with endless meanings to uncover. In both cases, we are invited to examine our expectations and perhaps reveal new realities. In the words of Dalí Museum Director, Hank Hine, “When we are curious enough to doubt what we see, we are more fully alert – a little more in touch with the mysterious fact of being alive.”
“What we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dream.” – Salvador Dalí
Dreams of Dalí
Visitors to The Dalí are also invited to experience the award-winning Dreams of Dalí in virtual reality (VR), to journey inside and beyond Dalí’s oil painting Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s “Angelus” (c.1934).
The interactive Cloud Room and Surreal Selfie stations were created for The Dalí by Pixel Rain Digital, and are included with Museum admission during the special exhibit. “Dreams of Dalí” was created for The Dalí by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, CA. and is included with Museum admission.
Magritte & Dalí is presented by Raymond James.