Tuesday, November 17, 2015

the mystery of the bent timepiece

One of my favourite animated movies is Alice in Wonderland. It got me started with dry and absurd humour. And for some strange reason, it introduced me to Salvador Dali's brand of surrealism. It all started with this Instagram post of Tom Trandt. The photos below shows a weird looking timepiece because it looks misshapen.


Indeed, it is misshapen. At first, it looked like a snail (sans the shell) climbing up the side of the wooden table... like a mountaineer crawling through that last assault to reach the summit... Obviously, I haven't gotten over Everest yet. And then, after I looked at it a bit more, I thought that the timepiece looked like something that would have fallen down the rabbit hole... might even be the White Rabbit's own watch!

Perhaps, the photo showed physical manifestations of someone's dream... just like in Inception... Time is bent in space in such a way that the sense of it is distorted. This was getting into surrealistic territory, I thought. This must be originally a surrealism work. And so I Googled about bent watches and clocks... and bumped into Salvador Dali's work: The Persistence of Memory, a painting which featured three bent watch faces.

I've heard of Salvador Dali's work of course. But I've never been a huge fan of surreal art... I'm more into Impressionists because their painting evoke the dreamy feel of going through fog (for me at least). But I'm quite sure that Dali's work must have the same influences as the artwork featured in Monty Python and the Flying Circus. On the other hand, if Dali painted bent watch faces, he must have worked on surreal themes similar to what's in Alice in Wonderland, right?

A few more clicks on the Web browser and I found something: Salvador Dali did paint a few pieces with Alice in Wonderland as a theme in 1969! The William Bennett Gallery (New York) had, on exhibit, a 12-piece suite of Alice in Wonderland-themed paintings, said to be some of the rarest Dali suite in the world.