Salvador Dalí: In Search of Immortality (2018) - full transcript

The life of surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and his relationship with his wife Gala Dalí. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
I made myself among these rocks,

I formed my personality here,

I discovered my love,

I painted my work,

I constructed my home.

I cannot separate myself
from this sky, this sea,

these rocks, I am bound
forever to Port Lligat,

where I have defined all my
most sincere truths and my roots.

We are in front of the
house at Port Lligat Bay,

the only home Dalí ever had,

and this is important because the whole house

can be thought of as a workshop.

It was a vital place for him.

He needed to soak up the landscape.

And this house represented the intimate Dalí,

the Dalí who could concentrate,

who could create, and above all else,

it is the one place in the world

where he decided to create a house to live in

and a studio in which to paint.

Dalí's relationship with
Cadaqués began early.

His father, the notary, who was born there,

had a house on the Es Llaner beach.

Dalí spent his holidays there

and had very fond memories of it,

since he associated the village
with the summer and free time,

far from his school studies,

it was a time he could devote to painting.

In his childhood diaries,

Dalí, during the winter in Figueres,

often recalled Cadaqués wistfully.

I spent a delicious summer, as always,

in the ideal and dreamy village of Cadaqués.

There, beside the Latin sea,

I gorged myself on light and color.

I spent the torrid days of
summer painting frenetically

and striving to capture
the incomparable beauty

of the sea and the sundrenched beach.

For Dalí, Cadaqués was light,

freedom, color, Impressionism.

And then Figueres was more functional,

the place where he went to school,

which he didn't like.

Salvador, who doesn't take
holidays as other children do,

works constantly, and thus makes
the most of our summers in Cadaqués.

Many days, by sunrise he
is all ready to start painting.

On other days he spends
hours and hours in the studio,

from the break of dawn until sunset.

His sister Anna Maria Dalí,
four years younger than him,

was fascinated by her talented brother,

for whom she posed as a model

and for whom she felt a
great affection and closeness.

When he painted me, I
was always near a window,

and so my eyes had time
to fix on the smallest details

...the way Salvador's retinae
captured the atmosphere of the village,

the luminosity that filtered into his body,

and then flowed from his
fingers, which handled the brushes.

It's a process I have always marveled at

because it is the process
that creates the work of art.

At home, it would take place very often

with the greatest simplicity and naturalness.

I was going out with my
brushes and my canvases,

painting the coast, and
one day I discovered a hut.

From then on, I saved myself the trouble

of carrying my materials back and forth.

This hut was in a little
bay, known as Port Lligat,

fifteen minutes walk from Cadaqués,

on the other side of the cemetery.

From this moment on,

Dalí intensely explored this new landscape,

a setting from which he
would never separate himself.

He even declared on at least one occasion

that he himself was Cap De Creus.

The identification was and is total.

So much so that Dalí's
work cannot be understood

without having visited this landscape.

Port Lligat is one of the most arid,

mineral and planetary places on Earth.

And in this modesty of nature,

I discerned the very principle of irony.

Observing how the forms of
those motionless rocks moved,

I meditated on my own rocks,

those of my thoughts.

In the Bay of Port Lligat,

there are some huts by the sea.

These are ramshackle constructions,

in which the fishermen kept their tools.

One of these huts belonged
to a fisherman's widow...

Lídia Noguer.

The friendship between the young Dalí

and Lídia continued until her death.

And she would come to play a fundamental role

in one of the most difficult
moments in the artist's life.

In fact, Dalí felt a great
fascination for Lídia,

to the extent of declaring
that "Lídia possesses

"the most magnificent paranoiac brain,

aside from my own, that
I have ever encountered."

Young Dalí must have
been fascinated by Lídia,

who told stories to all the children...

stories that she quite often
took out of the newspapers

she used to wrap the fish in she sold.

Lídia's madness is a moist, soft madness,

full of seagulls and lobsters,

it is a plastic madness.

Don Quijote rides through the air

and Lídia through the
air of the Mediterranean.

How wonderful Cadaqués is!

And how wonderful it is to draw a parallel

between Lídia and the last knight-errant.

During Dalí's early years,

the landscape, his family,

and he himself were the focus of his work,

which swung back and forth
between tradition and avant garde.

For Dalí, his creative work was
also a means of experimentation,

which allowed him to open up

and to discover the latest tendencies in art.

This experimentation led him to Surrealism,

a movement of which he became
one of the outstanding figures.

And this painting is a
reflection of this new line,

of amputated bodies, severed hands,

arteries, veins.

Now time painted in an almost
hyperrealist manner, isn't it?

And he feels the need to move on.

He feels rather trapped in
the classical approach to art.

My brother went to Paris with Luís Buñuel

to make the film "Un Chien Andalou,"

and there he made contact
with various members

of the Surrealist group, who
visited Cadaqués that summer.

It was the summer of '29.

He lost the spiritual
peace and the well-being

that his work had reflected up until then.

The paintings he was making
were horribly hallucinatory.

What he sculpted on his
canvases were authentic nightmares,

and those disturbing figures that seemed

to want to explain something
inexplicable were a torture.

Lugubrious Game is the
most representative example

of the paintings of that period

and the one that most clearly reflects

the change in spirit he had undergone.

But it seems to me, there
were mixed emotions here.

It wasn't just Surrealism
that Anna Maria didn't like.

It's rather a familial vision,

but it's where Dalí set about
finding a style of his own

and was able to affirm himself
with a specific current, isn't it?

Miró introduced him to Paris society

and, most important, he made
his first contact with the Surrealists,

among them, Paul Eluard
and the Viscount Noailles,

who were to become Dalí's patrons

and would have a major role in
financing the house in Port Lligat.

1929 was a decisive year in Dalí's life.

He met Gala, who was to
be his partner and muse.

Dalí spent the summer in Cadaqués,

where he was visited by the gallerist
owner Goemans and his partner,

and also Luís Buñuel, René Magritte,

and Paul Eluard and his wife Gala,

with their daughter Cécile.

Thus, in four days,

I found myself surrounded
for the first time by Surrealists,

who were drawn there above all

by the remarkable personality
they discovered in me

because Cadaqués could offer

none of the indispensable
amenities of a leisure resort

if you didn't have a house of your own there.

And then Dalí dramatized this gathering.

It was very important to him.

It represented everything he
was looking for at that moment,

and, as he recounts in fantastical
fashion in his autobiography,

he fell madly in love with Gala
and was eager to impress her.

When the group returned
to Paris in September,

Gala stayed on for a few weeks in Cadaqués,

and from that moment on she
was always at the painter's side.

She said to me, "My boy,
we shall never separate."

She was destined to be my Godiva,

she who advances,

my victory, my wife.

But for this to happen, she had to heal me,

and she healed me.

The morality of the Dalí house
was far more conventional.

And so it was, quite clearly, a revolution,

a revolution in the family home,

which was difficult to swallow.

They were able to accept it, in
due course, but not immediately.

And Dalí found that while his
sister struggled to understand

the painting "Lugubrious Game," for
example, Gala readily understood it.

That summer was all it took

to bring about in Salvador the change

that distanced him from his friends,

from us and even from himself.

The river of his life, so well channeled,

was diverted by the pressure
from those complicated beings,

who were unable to understand anything

of the classic landscape of Cadaqués.

My father was seriously concerned.

He tugged at his white hair,

a sign that something
was troubling him greatly,

and his usual smiling, optimistic face

betrayed a fear of some tragic event.

Dalí's relationship with Gala,

begun that summer,

prompted his father, the
notary, to change his will,

and practically disinherited his son.

The situation was made worse
by the painting Dalí exhibited

at the Goemans gallery in Paris

an image of the Sacred
Heart, on which Dalí had written,

"Sometimes I spit with pleasure
on the portrait of my mother,"

which caused the family a lot of unhappiness.

The fact that our subconscious impulses

are often felt as extremely
cruel to our conscious mind

is yet another reason for
not failing to manifest them

when they are the friends of truth.

The greater part of these
manifestations were perfectly unjust.

But what I was trying to do

was to affirm my will to
power and to prove myself

that I was still inaccessible to remorse.

I think it was part of this
process we have talked about,

of transformation, of a radical break,

and that it was a declaration to that effect.

What happened is that it was interpreted

as a particular moment
and taken very literally,

in any case, it was a provocation

and he knew that, didn't he?

His father let him go to
Cadaqués with Luís Buñuel

because he thought a
period of rest and separation

would help him rediscover his true self

and his love of everything
he had loved up until then.

But his father's plan failed.

The young Dalí was more and more
caught up in the Surrealist movement,

in which he had found a
new means of expression

through the subconscious,

which revealed a whole world
hidden by the conscious mind.

A few days later, I received
a letter from my father

informing me that he had banished
me irrevocably from the family.

When I received this letter,

my first reaction was to cut off my hair.

But I went even further,

I shaved my whole head.

I went to bury my hair, so black,

in a hole I dug in the
beach for this purpose.

And where I also buried the pile of shells

of the sea urchins I had eaten at midday.

After that, I climbed a small hill

that overlooks the village of Cadaqués.

And there, sitting under the olive trees,

I spent two interminable hours

contemplating the panorama of my childhood,

my adolescence and my present.

The artist's father found
out about his son's intention

of returning to Cadaqués.

Furious, he tried in every way possible

to keep Dalí and Gala out of Cadaqués.

A good example of this is the letter

Dalí's father sent to Luís Buñuel in Paris.

If you still maintain your
friendship with my son,

you could do me a favor.

I do not write to him as I
am ignorant of his address.

He left yesterday evening for Paris,

where I believe he will
remain for eight days.

You will know where madame resides,

and could advise my son not
to seek to return to Cadaqués,

for the simple reason that he will
not be able to stay in that village

for even two or three hours.

Then things will become
so complicated for him

that he will be unable to return to France.

...Should this measure fail,
I will resort to every means

at my disposal, including
assault on his person.

My son will not go to Cadaqués,

he should not go, he cannot go.

Dalí's father learned of his intention

of buying a house in or near Cadaqués.

Dalí wanted to buy the fisherman's
hut owned by Lídia Noguer,

which he was using as a storeroom and studio.

His father did all he could to prevent this,

but Lídia, who felt a great affection
for the young Dalí, took no notice.

With the money he gained
from selling his painting

"The Old Age of William
Tell" to the viscount of Noailles,

Dalí was able to buy the fisherman's hut.

It was Dalí's triumph, that is to say,

he couldn't come to Cadaqués,
he couldn't have a house,

but he had a house there,
and at the very moment

that his father told him he couldn't.

So it's also a symbol of
Dalí's triumph once again.

I spent the whole evening
looking at the check

and for the first time I began to suspect

that money was a very important thing...

With that and Gala's money
we would go to Cadaqués

and build a house large
enough for the two of us.

This would allow us to work

and get away to Paris from time to time.

The only landscape that
I like is that of Cadaqués

and I didn't want to look at any other.

[Spanish to English

So, this was the first
hut, the one Lídia bought,

a very small hut of 22 square meters,

and this is where they made their life.

A really confined space,
which they used for everything.

And what he did was to
reinvent the hut for himself,

to make it into a 22-square meter house,

which amounts to a bedroom,

a living room, a studio,

and a small service space,

which would be the one upstairs

where there was a shower,
kitchen and bathroom,

and that was all.

It was necessary to walk very carefully,

almost sideways, between things,

because it was an extremely small space.

I wanted it to be small.

The smaller, the more intrauterine.

Not being in a position to carry out

any of my delirious decorative ideas,

I just wanted the exact
proportions required for the two of us

and only the two of us.

But as an artist's studio it didn't work.

So Dalí did the whole conversion

to transform it into his
first studio at Port Lligat.

And there was no electricity,

there was no water. It was, he said,

an aesthetic life.

"Here I learned to hone myself down

and live with the bare necessities."

It was here in Port Lligat

that I learned to impoverish myself,

to limit and hone my thinking

so it would be as efficient as an axe,

where blood tasted like blood

and honey tasted like honey.

A life that was hard,
without metaphor or wine,

a life with the light of eternity

The idle chip chap of Paris,

the lights of the city and of
the jewels of "Rue de la Paix"

could not resist this other light,

total, age-old, poor,

as serene and intrepid as
the concise brow of Minerva.

And then, of course, a month later

he was able to buy this second hut

and he made this opening,

and at once he had more space and more light.

So now we're in what would
become the dining room,

but was initially the second studio,

the second cell of this
cellular growth of the house.

What did he do with this space?

His aim was to turn it into a
space to work and paint in.

So what he needed, first and foremost,

was to let light in,

and what did he do to let light in?

Well, basically, make a window to
let in overhead light from the north,

which was very important to him,

and convert what was a little
window in a little fisherman's hut

into a splendid panoramic window,

which let the landscape into his house.

Six years had gone by since the family rift,

and Salvador Dalí hadn't
seen his father since 1929.

During that time he had worked tirelessly,

while moving between Paris, New
York, and the house in Port Lligat.

He was combining Paris with
occasional trips to New York,

and he set himself apart in Paris.

He had two very important
individual exhibitions.

He was acquiring ever-greater
importance within the Surrealist group,

and at the same time,
getting to know Americans

who would open doors
for him in the United States,

which was to be a new phase for him,

and he combined this house in Port Lligat

with two outstanding
centers of art, one being Paris,

and the other, the future, New York.

At the very beginning of the two huts,

the upper one was a terrace,

a terrace which must have been splendid

from the pictures we have of it.

Here we see Gala and Dalí

and the friends who came to visit them,

with a sunshade, the
terrace furniture, etc...

What happened is, in due course,

these two terraces ended
up becoming a new studio

and a new living space.

His relationship with Gala was stable

and they formed a tandem,

strengthened by the ever-increasing
number of commissions.

The time had come to close old wounds.

On March 3rd, 1935,

the meeting and reconciliation
with his family took place.

That same year,

the Dalís considered
extending their home again,

and they contacted Emili Puignau,

the man who was to
take charge of all the work

that would be done on the house.

And he always knew how to get it done,

however difficult it may have been,

and he explains in his book that at times

it was very difficult to achieve
what Dalí was asking for,

but nevertheless he did his
utmost and the house took shape,

because Dalí was the architect on this house.

He designed it, it was in his head,

he even had them cut back
the rock to make this fireplace,

which he sketched, and
which became a constant.

He sketched many of the fireplaces,

not only here, but later for Púbol too.

The painter's interest in
the house was aesthetic...

for example, that the roofs should form
a series of steps leading down to the sea.

Dalí was always in a
hurry to get things done,

so when he was asked
when he wanted something for,

he would answer, "Yesterday."

So it didn't take us long to
do the bodies of the buildings.

That was in the autumn of '35

and they had to be finished
for the coming summer.

The construction was completed,

apart from some details, in July of 1936.

A fateful date, coinciding as it did

with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

The peaceful, contemplative life

Dalí and Gala led in Port Lligat

was cut short by the
imminent Spanish Civil War

that divided the country

and plunged it into misery and uncertainty,

an uncertainty which the
Dalís had sensed for some time,

especially Gala, who went
through the Russian Revolution.

The Civil War had begun!

I knew it, I was certain of it.

I had predicted it!

And Spain, with another war,

was to be the first country called to resolve

with the stark reality of violence and blood

all of the insoluble ideological
dramas of post-war Europe,

all of the aesthetic anxiety of the isms

polarized in two words,

revolution and tradition.

When I went to Port Lligat the next day,

the Dalís told me they
were alarmed and uneasy.

I tried to reassure them,
saying that nothing could happen,

but they at once said
that they weren't so sure.

Gala said to me

"Mon petit, we cannot take any risks."

Who could have known then that it
would be 12 years before I saw them again

and before they could live in the
house that meant so much to them?

During the years of the Spanish Civil War,

the Dalís moved from place
to place around Europe,

waiting for their return to Port Lligat.

They were mostly in Italy and France,

interspersed with sporadic
trips to the United States,

where Dalí had begun to
take his place in the public eye

and where he saw the opportunity

to make his fortune through his work.

In fact, we can say that
Dalí hardly saw Port Lligat

from 1936 until 1948... a long time.

The reasons for this were the Civil War,

which kept him from returning to his country,

and then the Second World War,

which he spent in the United States.

I could feel the rise of
the blind forces of fury,

of destruction and death
that would dislocate Europe.

When three days later,
war was officially declared,

Gala, always alert,

immediately thought of our escape.

Gala left for Lisbon in 1940

and waited for Dalí to
join her a few days later

to make the definitive
move to the United States.

Before leaving, Dalí visited his family,

who had suffered the consequences of the war.

He traveled for 24 hours to get
to his father's house in Cadaqués.

I had to pass through 10 villages in ruins,

their walls, like ghosts,

were silhouetted in the moonlight

like Goya's drawings
of the horrors of battle,

and my heart shrank in
traversing that labyrinth

of the miseries of war.

In people's memory, the wounds
of martyrdom had not yet healed,

and my coming there at that
time was met with mistrust.

"Papa!" "Who's there? What do you want?"

"It's me." "Who?"

"Me, Salvador Dalí, your son."

So I knocked on my father's door,

in Cadaqués, at two o'clock in the morning.

I embraced my family. They gave me anchovies,

sausages, and tomatoes
dressed with olive oil.

I chewed the food, astonished and terrified!

The morning following my return to Cadaqués.

I hugged the heroic Lídia,
who had survived everything.

I went with her to visit
our house in Port Lligat.

I opened the door of my home.

Everything was gone.

There was nothing left of my library,

absolutely nothing...

only walls covered with obscene drawings

and conflicting political emblems.

I pushed aside the waste with my foot

and went outside, to the sun.

New skin, new land!

And a land of freedom, if that is possible!

I have chosen the geology of
a country that was new to me

and was young, virgin, and free from drama.

That of America.

Upon arriving in America,

I went almost immediately to Hampton Manor,

the residence of Caresse Crosby,

our friend from the time at Moulin du Soleil.

We were all going to try to
make the sun shine again,

a little, that sun of France, which had set.

As soon as we arrived, I set up my easel

with two large canvases

and I painted "Spider of the Evening,"

"Hope," and Resurrection of the Flesh.

He also saw how the center of the art world

was shifting from Paris to New York,

so he was where he needed to be,

despite the fact that he
was exiled against his will,

but I think he knew how
to read the situation well

and positively, insofar as it
wasn't a pleasant experience,

and took the opportunity to find out

how the United States worked,

to consecrate himself once and for all.

Mr. Salvador Dalí gives a party.

The Spanish painter of surrealism

dresses Mrs. Dalí in a unicorn's head,

just to start things off.

As hostess, she presides
from a red velvet bed.

Soldier Jackie Coogan and the still
dapper Mr. Hope serve the main course.

The party is surrealism,

but them frogs is real!

And though his work evolves
in tandem with his experiences,

both personal and
artistic, in the United States,

the references to the landscape of Cadaqués

and Port Lligat are still there.

He remembered with
melancholy the lights and colors.

And in his portraits of members
of American high society,

the presence of the landscape is a constant.

...or in the animated short "Destino,"

with Walt Disney in 1946,

where the landscapes and reminiscences
of Port Lligat are ever present.

In the United States, he
sought the life he had here,

and that's why he combined New York,

the exhibition season,

the art season in New York,

and then the move to Monterrey, California,

where he always looked for
landscapes like those of Port Lligat

or which evoked Port Lligat for him.

During this long period of absence,

the Dalí family took care of the house.

In 1944, Dalí's father wrote to his son

to say that a close friend
of Anna Maria, Dalí's sister,

would live in and look
after the house in Port Lligat

until he came back from the United States.

Anna Maria has let them have the house

so they may live there without paying rent,

but with the condition,
which they have fulfilled,

of repairing it at their expense,

and have left it as good as new

so that the cession of the house
in no way disadvantages you,

whereas left unoccupied,
it would have deteriorated

and you would have lost almost everything.

We go on as before, with no news,

and calmly await your return,

which I am sure you wish
for after four years of absence.

The bomb in Hiroshima
exploded in an immaculate sky.

Pikado, "Light and noise,"

the Japanese who managed to escape said.

I was painting Gala naked from behind

when I felt the seismic
shock of the explosion.

It filled me with terror.

What horrified me was
the thought of the possibility

of a chain of explosions

that could have reached the whole world

before I finished the
perfect breast of my Galarina.

No one was safe, wherever they may have been.

I decided to study, without delay,

the best means of preserving
my precious existence

from the clutches of death,

and I began to occupy myself in earnest

with the formulas of immortality.

"Atomic Melancholy,"
which I painted at the time,

expresses the doubts and certainties

that were born in me on
the 6th of August, 1945.

The war was over,

but it would take Dalí and Gala

another three years to
get back to Port Lligat.

Acclaimed as an international artist,

he had achieved what he had dreamed of.

His popularity in the United States

can only be compared to that of movie stars,

stars whom he knew and socialized with.

His work was on show in the
leading museums and salons.

Papa has a great desire for you to come home.

You cannot imagine it.

Everything he does shows
how eager he is for your return.

Auntie and I are also
looking forward enormously

to the day we shall all be reunited
in our little house in Cadaqués,

our little house from when we were small.

1948 came, and with it

the long-awaited return
of the Dalís to Spain,

and to the center of
his Universe, Port Lligat.

From the bridge of the ship,

I looked at New York with satisfaction.

What joy in finding once again

the transcendent beauty of Port Lligat,

my kingdom, my Platonic cave.

I am in transit.

I forget the pride of the
skyscrapers and the agitation,

the noise, the American frenzy.

From the point of hypersnobbism
at which I have arrived,

I have no alternative,
but to feel I am a mystic.

The newspapers took an
interest in Dalí and Gala's return.

On August 1st, 1948,

the daily "La Vanguardia"
published an article

recounting a meeting with the artist

on the very day he arrived in Port Lligat.

I am not the man who stole a landscape,

the landscape stole me.

I want to get back to painting my mythology

with the precise places seen in a new way.

In keeping with the new physics,

it is no longer Freudian
psychology that attracts me,

but the geography of the
places where mythologies live on.

"Salvador Dalí has returned..."

The press take up the story,

the family reunion continues,

it's a very sweet moment,

and of course he returned to his home

and carried on with his
project of extending it.

In the summer of 1948,

Dalí and Gala, after twelve years absence,

had already decided to make Port Lligat

their place of permanent residence.

Dalí needed a space to work in,

but also to sort out

and accumulate everything his life

as a hotel nomad hadn't let him store away.

His financial situation was comfortable.

They could extend the house
with a new cell and furnish it.

They bought another hut,
also of 22 square meters,

and a piece of land, which is an olive grove,

enabling them to add to the house

what are now the living room and the library.

Their builder, Puignau,

also undertook this second extension,

and since they worked without an architect,

he followed the artist's indications

in the form of letters,
plans, designs and sketches.

With his departure for Paris in 1948,

we started the work of rebuilding the hut

so that it would be ready
for his return the year after,

just as we always did.

In the spring of 1949,

the house was ready to be lived in.

Gala took charge of the decorating

and bought pieces of furniture

from various antique shops in the area.

And he even had this mirror
placed in a special way.

He took care care, you
know, in positioning the mirrors

because she said that in this way,
from the room, from the bedroom,

he would be the first man
in Spain to see the sun rise.

As I was having breakfast,

I watched the sun rise and
it struck me that Port Lligat

being geographically the
most easterly point of Spain,

every morning, I am the first
Spaniard to feel the sun's caress.

Even in Cadaqués, which
is ten minutes from here,

the sun arrives later.

The home that Dalí had
had to abandon for years,

on account of the war, had now been recovered

and his inner peace and his
landscapes were reestablished.

But a new conflict
emerged with the publication

of his sister Anna Maria's autobiography,

in which she declared
her aversion to Surrealism

and rejection of Gala.

With this book, old wounds were reopened

and the family was divided once again.

Salvador had said that far from the family,

when he saw our little house in Cadaqués,

the scene of all of his
childhood and adolescence,

it made him think of a lump of sugar

covered in bitterness.

This image could not be more real,

though it must be remembered
that the bitterness he saw

was bitterness that he,
thanks to the Surrealist group,

had put there, making us victims

of the decadent world, which
he unfortunately suggested,

but from which all of us
have always kept our distance.

His father found himself
in a difficult situation,

but he took his daughter's side,

as the foreword he wrote for
Anna Maria's book clearly shows.

At the same time, the decision
by Dalí's father and sister

to sell some early
paintings without his consent,

deeply offended Dalí.

The break had become definitive.

The artist closed the doors
of his home in Port Lligat

to his family and only opened them again

a few days before his father's death.

In the two previous seasons
he spent in Port Lligat,

Dalí had used the so-called
yellow room as his studio...

the room off the stairway
leading to the first floor.

However, this room was really too small

for painting in reasonable comfort,

so that same year, taking advantage

of the neighbors' decision to sell their hut,

which was next to the Dalí's house,

they bought it without so
much as discussing the price,

since it was a unique opportunity
to make another extension.

And Dalí had already
begun to explore new formats,

with much larger canvases,

and here he didn't have the space he needed.

Yes, in terms of light.

Yes, in terms of views.

But not in terms of space.

As was his custom,

Dalí drew up the basic scheme
of how his new studio should be.

He had thought it all out.

The work was done, as before,

during the part of the year

they spent in Paris and New York.

The wall that formed a little vestibule

with the door to his studio

had to have the Dalí stamp,

so the large door or
opening for communication

had to be a truncated isosceles triangle,

and the fireplace situated
next to this opening

would be like the opening, but upside down...

a very different design
from what we were used to.

In the spring of 1950,

the Dalís returned from their annual trip

to Paris and the United States.

His great desire was to
see the studio completed.


At last he had a studio with maximum capacity

to receive light from outside.

At last he had a studio whose windows

all looked out on the
landscape of Port Lligat,

so that the landscape really
did invade the studio completely.

What's more, it was a studio whose space

was really suitable for the new canvases,

the new formats.

The first painting he
did in the definitive studio

was "The Madonna of Port Lligat,"

a supremely mystic-nuclear work,

conceived over the winter

and perfectly structured in his mind,

all he needed was a
suitable place to paint it.

And the new studio was ideal.

Then he had the idea, aided by Emili Puignau,

for this metal framework,

which at first was manual,

and later worked with a push button

to move up and down,

so that Dalí always had
the part of the canvas

he was painting in front of him

And then, with the maulstick and the brush,

he would paint.

He would go over to the
bench and contemplate,

and it was this to and fro.

Here, for example,

he finished "The Madonna of Port Lligat,"

he painted "The Battle of Tetuan,"

the canvases for the ceiling
of the Theatre-Museum,

and these and other large canvases

would be rolled up and
passed out through this window.

But even though he now had the new studio,

Dalí wasn't progressing at his usual rate.

His father was ill

and Dalí knew he had to go and see him

before his inevitable death.

In September of 1950, his father died.

Dalí's grief was profound.

It was a major blow for Dalí,

because his father was his mentor

and he would always have his example in mind.

Dalí never forgot when
his father once said to him,

when they had been arguing together,

"You will die alone and poor."

And he sometimes said
his life had been a struggle

to prove his father wrong.

His father's death
reawakened the fear of falling ill

and dying that Dalí felt from an early age,

and rekindled his interest in immortality,

and in particular hibernation.

I have made the decision that
immediately after my demise,

I am to be preserved,

to await the discovery
that will allow humanity

one day to revive the brilliant Dalí.

I am certain that a cure
will be found for cancer,

that astonishing
transplants will be performed

and that the rejuvenation
of cells is only days away.

Coming back to life will
be an ordinary operation.

I will await in liquid
helium, without impatience.

In due course, Dalí returned to normal,

to his daily routine of painting and writing.

In short, he recovered his capacity to work

and his extraordinary rhythm.

He would get up early
and paint until lunchtime.

Afterwards, without lingering at the table,

he took a short nap,

then went back to the studio

to paint for the rest of
the day until evening.

After years of exile,

successes and tragedies,

a great deal of work and effort,

the cells have come together

to form the great mother cell, his home.

Our house has grown exactly
like a true biological structure,

in cellular outgrowths.

Each new impulse in our life

has its corresponding new cell... a room.

The nucleus was formed by
the paranoiac delirium of Lídia,

who gifted us the first cell.

A few years have passed

since the creation of his definitive studio.

Dalí's house has been
extended with additions of gardens

with olive trees around
the house down to the sea.

The house has become a place
of pilgrimage for many people

and also for the media
from all over the world.

Dalí is a world-famous artist,

and now everyone knows where to find him.


The first thing is that he now
constructed part of the house

as a public place, a reception area,

and a kind of open-air studio

where he could work in
collaboration with visitors,

other artists, younger people...

people who contribute the
to temperature of modernity.

Dalí went on with his life at Port Lligat,

a life tied to the evolution of his work,

now expanding into
happenings and performances,

some of which now take shape
in the outdoor spaces of the house.

It was this combination of innovation,

but let's make this clear,
because I think it's interesting

that Dalí, who was always experimenting,

also wanted to explain how he experimented

and above all for everyone
to know how he experimented.

Of course, because he
wanted to get through to people.

He didn't want to be an artist enclosed

in some kind of ivory tower

who someone might be interested in some day.

He wanted to get through to people.

He wanted people to think about

the things he was thinking about.

These were new forms of creation,

because the world was
becoming smaller for him,

and his sense of this gave
him a new need to grow,

to grow where he could,

in means, in thought,

in the company of other
artists or cameras, or whatever.

And above to project outwards,

to the world, always.

The house was now a
complex cellular structure,

which the Dalís had completed
with the passage of time,

and had grown to include
spaces like the swimming pool

or the what he called the milky way.

There is a whole Pop aesthetic,

Pirelli, the Lips sofas,

which is a Dalí classic,

but the pool in this form,

out of "One Thousand and One Nights,"

with some inspiration from the Alhambra...

Yes, it has exactly the
perspective of the Alhambra Pool,

Which is funny because
in fact the idea for the pool

came from a piece of polystyrene, didn't it?

You can see it in the studio.

Yes, it's in the studio...

The chronological evolution
of the house is linked,

naturally, to Dalí's artistic evolution,

and to the movements in art
that were happening at that time,

because Dalí, with his curiosity,

was very much aware of what was happening.

He was interested in American abstract art.

He was interested in hyperrealism.

He was interested in Pop Art.

But we can see that what he worked most at,

really, was installation

and he was experimenting,

but he would end the Eighties, once again,

with the great classics.

Even though Dalí was combining travel,

happenings and work in his
studio in the Port Lligat house,

from 1970, one project absorbed

and concentrated much of his time,

the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres,

a center in which he invested
his energy and his hopes.

In his studio, he prepared the great ceiling

of the "Palace of the Wind"

where he depicted Gala and himself.

The stereoscopic
paintings, born of his interest

in optical illusions and double images,

and many of the ideas and elements

that make up the Dalí universe,

brought together here almost as if this were

a testament to his life and his art.

In this task he had the invaluable support

of his friend, the artist Antoni Pitxot.

Dalí was invited to design
a nightclub in Acapulco

and he gave it an oval form
inspired by the sea urchin.

It was never built, but Gala,

who followed the process very closely,

was impressed by the
structure Dalí had conceived

and she asked him to apply it

as the new extension at
his home in Port Lligat...

the oval room.

Everything celebrates the cult of Gala,

even the round room, with its perfect echo,

which crowns the whole built complex

and is like the dome of
this galactic cathedral.

This is the last cellular extension

of the Port Lligat house, which in turn,

became the first cellular extension

of the Castle of Púbol,
which a few years later,

Dalí gave as a present to Gala.

Exactly one year ago,

I discovered the ruins of
the noble Castle of Púbol.

I took Gala there with her eyes closed

and I gave it to her. Three months later,

on our way back to New
York, in the middle of the ocean,

at 5:00 teatime, Gala took me by the hand

and suddenly said to me, "I
accept the Castle of Púbol,

"with only one condition,

that you will only come to visit me
at the castle by written invitation."

Because she found the
atmosphere at Port Lligat,

where Dalí was visited by
so many people, rather tiring,

and she wanted a private space of her own.

Everyone thinks I'm a well-defended fortress,

perfectly organized,

when at most I might
be a little tottering tower

that, out of modesty,

tries to cover itself with
ferns and hide its flanks,

already in ruins, to
find a bit of loneliness.

Then they recalled an old pact

between them that was made in the 1930s

on one of their stays in Italy.

A trip to Italy on which
Dalí promised her a castle,

and with Púbol,

I believe they gave solid form to a legend,

a legend of a love story
beyond the usual parameters.

And I think that finding this castle

was like the solidification of desire.

I had still to offer Gala

a casket more solemnly worthy of our love.

I therefore gave her a
mansion raised on the remains

of a twelfth-century castle at La Bisbal,

the ancient Castle of Púbol,

where she would reign as absolute sovereign.

Gala was delighted.

She especially liked the
garden and the flowers,

above all the roses,

which reminded her of a garden in Crimea,

where as a young girl she
had spent the summer holidays.

The castle was in a half-ruined state,

both the interior floors and the roof,

but the façades and
especially the courtyards,

which impressed Dalí,

were in good condition.

Magnificent, it's fantastic!

I like it.

It's worth buying for the courtyard alone.

What is more, I have seen
something sublime on the façade.

Not only is it cracked, but
the form of a rough edge

in the crack gives the
impression that there has been

a cataclysm there, an earthquake,

that one part held firm while
the other broke away and fell.

Therefore, it should not be touched.

It should be left as it is.

Dear Emili, dear friend.

As you will have realized,

Púbol is my obsession... ours, rather.

So far, working together,
we have always triumphed.

At Port Lligat, this little
house has become famous,

and so we have a great responsibility

for a grand new success, you and I.

For the first time, after so many years,

I saw Gala really obsessed
and very interested

in the execution of the work on the castle.

One day she said to me...

Emili, time is a vital thing.

Life is short, and so I have to be able

to make use of the castle.

Everything must be finished when we return

from Paris and New York
at the end of next May.

If this results in a higher cost
than envisaged, I do not mind.

I have complete confidence in you.

Both Dalí and Gala had
great hopes for their castle.

He already had in mind

a whole series of details for the decoration.

Every day he had new ideas.

But he was faced with
opposition from Gala, who said,

"No, no, the castle is mine

"and you must not intervene at all.

"The reconstruction of the
castle is a matter for Emili and me,

so do not get involved."

Dalí smiled and replied,

"Yes, yes, Galutxa.

I very much agree on this."

But he knew very well
that he would be the one

who would really complete all the details

and the decoration, and so it was.

I have here the list of orders

I have received from
Gala so far for her castle.

A roof fifteen meters across

that will represent, in
the Mediterranean sky,

a nocturnal hole from
which surrealist objects fall.

Chairs that do not touch the floor.

Six water-fountain elephants with stork legs,

which flow into the pool with the 27
ceramic heads of Richard Wagner.

Screens painted with
optical illusion representations

of heating radiators to conceal radiators.

Solid gold taps and shower
heads for the bathroom

that will be painted black

because according to the rules of alchemy,

treasures must always be hidden.

When we come to the first
floor and see the first room,

we are amazed by the imaginative deluge

with which a setting has been created,

which transports us to the Middle Ages,

yet it is very clear that we
are not in the Middle Ages,

but in the world of Salvador Dalí.

It's like the intermission of a play.

Before we come in,

all the elements are already there...

Gala's throne, Gala's powerful presence

and then we come further in

to reach even more hidden spaces,

such as the library, or the bedroom.

But first, the magnificence.


Dalí used walls

and half-ruined roofs very intelligently,

creating unsuspected spaces of
strongly contrasted dimensions.

The result is a place with
spaces of great beauty,

such as the old kitchen
converted into a bathroom

or the Piano Room.

Dalí was interested in the concept of ruin.

In fact, all the houses that
make up the Dalí triangle

were rebuilt on top of ruined buildings.

And in all three, he always
applied the same criterion.

He reconstructed and redecorated them

as if they were sets

with elements that evoke the
Classical period of the Renaissance,

such as domes, columns or sculptures.

At Púbol in particular,

there is a clear scenographic intention

with links to Classicism and Romanticism.

Yes, for me, this whole area
of the pool and the garden

is the most scenographic part of the castle.

And as Dalí himself said:

"I am an eminently theatrical artist."

[Spanish to English None other than Visconti

considered that he had a theatrical talent

and a gift for the stage.

Then Dalí came.

I met him in Rome when
he was studying Bramante

and I was looking for
an eccentric set designer,

a magician, but one who really possessed

exactly as he demonstrated
in "As You Like It,"

the gift of creating a stage set.

For a month, he immersed
himself in the construction

of his geometric forest
of Raphaelesque trees,

among shepherds, courtiers,

sheep and atomic pomegranates.

Because Dalí needed
to step out of the canvas,

he needed to go far
beyond an exhibition room,

and these were arts that
allowed him to express himself

in his entirety.

His creativity in the field of set design

extended to the world of cinema,

especially in the U.S.,

where Alfred Hitchcock chose him

because he felt he was
the artist best equipped

to reflect the realm of the subconscious,

a realm that Dalí ended up
transporting into his own spaces.

I requested Dalí.

Selznick, the producer, had the impression

that I wanted Dalí for the publicity value.

That wasn't it at all.

Dalí was the best man for me to do the dreams

because that's what dreams should be.

Dalí took a special interest in the design

of the exterior spaces of the castle.

In Italy, he had been fascinated

by the baroque magic of
the gardens of Bomarzo,

not far from Rome.

Here again a reference
to Classical mythology,

to the labyrinth and to structures

that are both seen and not seen,

this play of visible and invisible,

which is always very present in Dalí.

Dalí was also a great
lover of forced perspectives,

the one that interested him the most

is the one in the Palazzo Spada in Rome.

What Dalí did with one
of the paths in the garden

was to project a perspective
like the one in the Palazzo Spada,

but instead of using
columns, he used the trees,

and in a very skillful way,

he had the trees planted
and the vegetation cut

in such a way as to create
this false perspective.

In 1974, the pool and the
garden were constructed.

With these interventions,

the work on the Castle
of Púbol was completed.

The Castle of Púbol was Dalí's gift to Gala,

his lady, to whom he rendered vassalage,

and agreed not to enter the castle

without her written permission.

I am giving you a Gothic castle, Gala.

I accept with one condition,

that you only come to visit
me at the castle by invitation.

I accept.

Since I accept in principle every condition

in which there are conditions.

It is the very principle of courtly love.

The day that Dalí decide

I give this castle and tell Gala

"please, you catch this
castle because it is one gift."

Tell "No! Only one condition...

You never come in this castle sin me,

only with written invitation.

From your wife?

From, from... and Dalí is...

every day more masochist,

and love tremendously this condition.

And now receive an invitation
and bring you this afternoon

and you look one second

the visual Gala open and close the door.

Gala became the impregnable castle

that she had never ceased to be.

Intimacy and, above all, familiarities

make all passions diminish.

Rigor of feeling and distances,

as demonstrated by the neurotic ceremonial

of courtly love, make passion grow.

Gala has always been considered
the muse of Salvador Dalí,

an inspiring muse and a mysterious woman.

Loved by some, hated by others,

she left no one indifferent.

She was a woman of great intuition,

with an exceptional artistic sensibility,

who recognized the
artistic and creative genius

of intellectual artists such as Paul Eluard,

Max Ernst, and Salvador Dalí.

She was a woman,

a strong character, Gala,

powerful, very cultured.

And she was in fact of the few women

to be accepted by the Surrealist group.

The relationship with the Surrealist group

was always, I believe, very conflictive,

because the Surrealist group,

however much they strove
to demonstrate the contrary,

was a group of petty bourgeois
captained by André Breton

who who wanted the world
to adapt itself to their needs.

Then along comes Gala,

who does not want the world
to adapt to Breton's needs,

and I think it turned into a conflict.

In 1917, Gala married Paul Eluard,

who introduced her into the
artistic and literary circles of Paris,

where she was one of the few women

accepted by the Surrealist group.

In 1929, Gala met Salvador Dalí

and they fell in love.

Eluard reluctantly accepted
that his wife was leaving him

for a young artist ten
years younger than she was,

an emotionally unstable
artist with an uncertain future.

Gala saw what Dalí was

and, of course, suddenly she meets this guy,

fascinating, totally crazy,

as he must have been at
that moment, spontaneous.

And she realizes that she
has a great deal to learn,

to look at, to shape...

She has in front of her a treasure,

she has a gift.

We are always ready to admit that suddenly,

great artists find their muses.

Well, I believe that Gala was a great artist

who found her muse in Dalí

and on that account
she left a successful poet,

a fascinating life of great pomp

with a great poet of Breton,

and went to live...

well, almost with fishermen,
with country people...

The most essential thing for me is love.

It is the axis of my
vitality and of my brain,

the spring that launches me forward

with elasticity and agility,

with more clarity and precision

in all the movements of my senses,

my impulses, my knowledge.

Gala had begun to explain
to me in minute detail

the reasons for her desire.

And it suddenly occurred to me that she too

had her inner world of desires and failures

and moved with her own rhythm

between the poles of lucidity and madness.

Throughout his autobiography,

Dalí tells us about Gala

in relation to desire and the
discovery of the sexual act.

I kissed her on the mouth,

inside her mouth.

It was the first time I did this.

I had not suspected until then
that one could kiss in this way.

With a single leap all the Parsifals

of my long-bridled and
tyrannized erotic desires rose,

awakened by the shocks of the flesh.

And then, also in his autobiography,

in an ironic tone,

the most Surrealist Dalí associates food

with the loved one who has to be devoured

in order to arrive in this way at total love.

Since Malaga, I had become Gala's pupil.

She had revealed to me
the principle of pleasure.

She taught me also the
principle of reality in all things.

She also taught me the
principle of proportion,

which slumbered in my intelligence.

She was the Angel of Equilibrium,

the precursor of my classicism.

Gala became the model and
muse that Dalí had been waiting for.

A muse that inspired him in the same way

that other women inspired
the Renaissance painters

that Dalí so admired...

"Galarina" is a clear example of this.

I called it "Galarina" because Gala is to me

the muse that La Fornarina was to Raphael.

In short, every good painter

who aspires to create authentic masterpieces

must first marry my wife Gala.

Gala took it on herself to provide Dalí

with the financial stability he needed,

in order to dedicate
himself exclusively to art.

It was she who, with great tenacity,

sought out the best dealers,
the most prestigious galleries

and the most refined clients to buy,

sell and exhibit Dalí's work.

In fact, Dalí never had a dealer

or a gallery to represent him.

Gala did it all.

We see the two of them

with the influential New
York gallerist Julien Levy.

This was part of her
role, the role she took on,

and she performed it very well.

She creates a place, a comfort zone,

as we would say in contemporary terms,

which is to be that woman,

as when she writes the letter to his father,

which she reads to her husband,

when she looks after him as Russian women do,

and from that parapet

she comes up with lots of different personas

between which she
modulated throughout her life.

I, like all of us Russian women,

personally help my husband in everything.

I try to lighten his load.

I have to do it, and in any case I enjoy it.

I often serve as his model,

I also act as secretary and
take charge of everything

to do with the practical part of our life,

I do all that because he, as you see,

is totally immersed in the creative world,

in his work.

He is not able to deal with these trifles.

I am not very brilliant either,

but we live like all artists,

we work, and that is
the most important thing.

The possibility of expressing
oneself thanks to a talent.

Gala alone was a witness to my furies,

my despairs,

my fugitive ecstasies

and my relapses into the bitterest pessimism.

She alone knows to what point

painting became for me at this period

a ferocious reason for living,

while at the same time it
became an even more ferocious

and unsatisfied reason for loving her, Gala,

for she and she alone was the reality.

And all that my eyes were
capable of seeing was "she."

And it was the portrait of her

that would be my work, my idea, my reality.

In his autobiography,

"The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí,"

the artist explains how at
a crucial moment in his life,

thanks to Gala, his work evolved,

fusing Surrealism with Classicism.

"My prisons were the
condition of my metamorphosis.

"But without Gala, they
threatened to become my coffins,

"and again it was Gala
who with her very teeth

"came to tear away the wrappings

"patiently woven by the
secretion of my anguish

and within which I was
beginning to decompose."

"Arise and walk!" I obeyed her

"You've accomplished nothing yet!

It is not time for you to die!"

My surrealist glory was worth nothing.

I must incorporate surrealism into tradition.

My imagination must become classic again.

I had before me a work to accomplish

for which the rest of
my life would not suffice.

Gala made me believe in this mission.

This time I will send you a catalogue

of the exhibition and you will see

that his paintings cannot be done

in a quarter of an hour
like most of modernism.

His technique is classical and the content,

we could say, is an absolutely new movement

with a symbolic meaning.

Gala signified all of his intelligence,

all his culture, all his creativity,

all his... his pragmatic sense of life.

Because she was also...

she could serve as a crutch, right?

But she was absolutely
essential for Dalí's life,

his creative and pragmatic life.

Since my Surrealist period,

I have signed my best
paintings "Gala Salvador Dalí."

It is not necessary to be Sartre

to affirm that the name is the person,

but it is necessary to be Dalí

to affirm that the superperson,

the superman of Nietzsche

and the Dalinian superwoman are his castle.

I think that Gala was in
camouflage all the time,

which is to say that from that point of view

I think of Gala almost as a
kind of postmodern heroine.

We said before that the
title "The Visible Woman"

is almost a contradiction, really,

because in fact Gala is the invisible woman,

the one we do not get to know, right?

And this is part of her mystery.

From the beginning I
imposed a very personal norm

that has nothing to do neither with morals

nor with ethics or with anything.

I adopted it by and for myself,

and it consists in not agreeing
to any request for an interview,

in not making any statement for the press.

I want to go down in history as a legend.

When everything is over and done with,

when everything that is now cloudy is clean,

when time has passed,
things will be said about me,

for good or ill, but for now,

I do not want anything to be said.

On June 10, 1982,

Gala died in Port Lligat

and was taken to her Castle of Púbol,

where she is buried.

Just a few months before,

in view of the precarious
state of his wife's health,

Dalí took it on himself to prepare a crypt

in the space formerly
used to store the tithes.

Finally we buried Gala in her tomb,

which had been made ready.

A priest from a nearby town
officiated at the ceremony

and Dalí, deeply moved,

managed to attend the
funeral for a few moments

before leaving abruptly.

Dalí had to leave his wife's funeral.

It was too painful for him.

Downcast, he retired to the Piano Room.

He did not want anyone near him,

other than his faithful friend

Antoni Pitxot, who was also an artist.

"The Death of Hector,"

represented in the tapestry in this room,

was quite significant in
those moments of pain.

During the funeral, Dalí and Pitxot

sat for over an hour
in front of the tapestry.

According to Pitxot, Dalí was absent,

contained, even expressionless,

staring into space.

To distract and rouse him,

Pitxot talked about the
tapestry in front of them

depicting a scene from "The Iliad"

of Hector being killed by a spear.

Eventually, Dalí looked up
up and focused on the scene.

And after a moment's reflection,

made the following comment.

This is what has happened to me, Antoni.

The final spear-thrust.

His magnificent house of cards has collapsed.

Gala was dead.

We have to think that Dalí...

it's what we were saying, isn't it?

For some years he had been
aware that he was getting old,

and on top of that in 1982
he found himself alone.

For the first time in his life
he was alone in the world

because he no longer had Gala,

he had no one to cover reality for him.

After Gala's death,

Dalí didn't want to go back to Port Lligat.

He told Antoni Pitxot

that he intended to stay at
the castle to be close to her.

I have been worried, and thinking all night,

and I have made this decision.

I do not want to go back to Cadaqués anymore.

I want to stay in the castle.

Dalí moved into Gala's room.

He slept in her bed and
shut himself up in the castle,

not going outside and seeing almost no one

except for the staff and Antoni Pitxot.

The days were passing
and Dalí was still no better.

Artur, his butler,

occasionally got him to walk in the garden.

On one of these walks,

on which I also accompanied him,

he pointed with his cane to the wall

that was near us and said...

Tell them to raise it half a meter

so that I cannot be seen
from the neighboring field.

A few days later,

the wall had been built up.

Dalí was enclosed in on himself, absent.

His health was deteriorating
with every day that passed,

he did not want to eat

and the nurses no longer
knew what to do with him.

He didn't want to see anyone.

Antoni Pitxot came over
every day from Cadaqués

to visit him and tried to encourage him

to regain his enthusiasm for painting,

but he did not find it easy.

Dalí was not the same.

From his bed, he asked
him to close the curtains

so as not to let the sunlight in.

Close the curtains! That is life!

Many days when I arrived in the morning

and asked him how he was, he would answer me,

"I'm dying, I'm dying." And things like that.

Then, to change the tone of sadness

and give it a brighter turn,

I would say, "Why don't you sing it to me?

"Like that song I'm sure
you know that goes...

♪ Con el ay, con el Marabay ♪

♪ Con el ú, con el Marabú ♪

♪ Ay, que me mu, que me muero... ♪

[woman continues singing "El Marabú"

And he immediately opened his eyes and said,

"San Juan de la Cruz,"

which is exactly how the
bolero "Marabú" continues.

Then Dalí became more lively

and made the nurses
laugh by singing all kinds

of nonsense and songs of that time.

In those difficult days,

in order to stimulate his friend,

Pitxot brought him a lot of sketchbooks,

so he would have them
to hand and feel prompted

to draw or paint.

One day I arrived and I found him

with one of those sketchbooks in his hands.

I said to myself "At last!"

And I asked him, "What are you doing?"

And he tore out a sheet
in tremendous ill humor

and threw it on the floor.

When he threw the first sheet I said nothing.

Then he threw six or
seven balls of paper in a row,

as if expressing a feeling
of suppressed rage.

Then I said in a rather pacifying tone,

"I'm sure this thing you're doing

"responds to some feeling you have,

"but let me tell you that it's absurd.

Give it a function, that's what it's for."

And he threw another
ball of paper on the floor.

"That's okay. Carry on.

"If you like, we'll bring you more

"so you can cover the
floor with crumpled paper.

Then he beckoned to me to
come closer and he snarled,

"Dying is probably like
crumpling up sheets of paper."

But Antoni Pitxot did not give up.

He knew that the only way to stimulate Dalí

was through painting.

I need you to recapture
the spark of the painting,

which is my religion.

You know that I don't believe in
anything, only in good painting.

I believe in Rembrandt's
"The Slaughtered Ox,"

the brushstrokes of which,
as our teacher Nuñez said,

deserve to be kissed. You remember?

If I can't follow this cult of my religion,

then I will stop coming.

I promise you that tomorrow
I will do something again.

Antoni Pitxot's persistence paid off,

and by the end of 1982,
Dalí was active once more,

working obsessively in the sketchbooks,

drawing symbols inspired
by the catastrophe theory

of the French mathematician René Thom

and creating what he called
catastropheiform writing.

When I finally got him to paint again,

this is what he came up
with, which I found wonderful.

They were in a sense
the signs of his ailments,

but expressed in an
absolutely free, fantastic way.

He filled whole sketchbooks,

drawing in those same sketchbooks

from which he had torn out the
pages and crumpled them up.

He covered page after page
with these catastropheiform signs.

After a period of emotional
and physical crisis,

Dalí was ready to pick up his brushes again.

He chose a spot in the
main hall of the castle,

next to a window, and set up his easel there,

adapting it as an improvised studio,

which was to be his last studio.

Dalí gives form in these works

to the subjects that obsess him...

immortality, and the nostalgia for a past

that will not return again.

Mine is no longer an imagination

at the service of caprice and dreams,

or of automatism,

now I paint meaningful things

taken directly from my own existence,

from my illness or from
my most present memories.

One of these oil paintings,

"We'll Be Arriving Later, Around Five,"

is a curiously enigmatic
image of a dark interior.

At the back of this work
lies the theme of mortality,

and the fact that it depicts a removal van,

takes us back to Dalí's youth,

when he heard André Breton declare,

"I ask to be conducted to the
cemetery in a removal van."

This painting, "Swallow's Tail," from 1983,

is the last oil Dalí painted,

and he painted it at Púbol. It is, then,

another reference to the
catastrophe theory of René Thom,

in which Dalí was interested at the time,

from various angles,
including the scientific.

These oils from Dalí's last period,

marked by his interest in catastrophe theory,

bear witness to a world that is ending,

something that is collapsing.

They are a kind of
self-portrait of his final stage.

And in a way,

these works also have a
premonitory significance.

Salvador Dalí suffered minor burns

when his bedroom at Púbol caught fire.

A fire which completely destroyed Dalí's room

broke out at dawn yesterday

at the painter's habitual residence.

Dalí, who is relatively unharmed,

according to those closest to him,

has minor burns on his
right thigh and right forearm,

and was slightly affected by the smoke.

The doctors recommended
that Dalí be moved to a hospital.

The painter Antonio Pitxot

attributed the cause of
the fire to a short circuit.

The nurses had a bell
installed in Dalí's room

in case he should needed anything.

That night, in a state of nerves,

Dalí pressed the button so many times

that it caused a short circuit
and started a fire in his bed.

Dalí had to be admitted
to a clinic in Barcelona

to treat his burns.

But on his way to Barcelona,

he asked for the ambulance to
take him to his Museum in Figueres

so he could see it at night,

probably thinking that he
would never do so again.

So, in the middle of the night,

the nurses, the doctor
and Dalí's usual retinue

accompanied the injured painter

as he visited the rooms
of his Museum one by one,

before being taken to the clinic.

He paid special attention to the boat

that he and Gala often used
when they lived at Port Lligat,

which that very day had been put in place

as part of a central
installation in the courtyard.

Many people will not know
the geographical locations

of Figueres and Púbol,

but it took a special effort
for a person in his condition

to go to Figueres, which
was quite out of the way.

In other words, it says a lot
about what he was thinking,

about what was on his mind at that moment.

During this convalescent period,

as the day approached
when he would be discharged

and leave the clinic,

the dilemma as to his
future residence returns.

He could not go back to the castle,

because the fire meant
that repairs were needed

and he could not live there.

As Dalí was well on the way to recovery,

the question was put to him.

His answer was immediate and concise.

I will go to Figueres, to the Torre Galatea!

The Torre Galatea,

formerly known as the Torre Gorgot,

is an annex to the Dalí Museum.

The tower dates from the 17th century

and preserves the only visible remnants

of the old mediaeval wall of Figueres.

Salvador Dalí had refurbished it,

connected it to the Theatre-Museum,

and given it the name of Torre Galatea.

In addition, in honor of all
the enigmas surrounding Gala,

he transformed its general
appearance with bright colors,

loaves of bread and eggs on the façade.

Precisely at that time,

Dalí at Púbol was working
on the Torre Galatea.

It was from Púbol

that he redesigned and
decorated the Torre Galatea.

What I am saying is that we can clearly see

that Dalí in Púbol was thinking more and more

about his real masterpiece,

which is the Dalí Theatre-Museum.

Prolonging my Theatre-Museum of Figueres,

I declare that from now on, Torre Gorgot

will be called Torre Galatea.

I raise a monument, unique in the world,

in honor of all enigmas.

The curious thing is that he
returned to his home town,

Figueres, which he had left long before.

In fact, he wanted to come back here

to feel close to the Museum,

the church where he was baptized,

and also the place where his father organized

his first painting exhibition.

He wanted to close the circle.

Indeed, he wanted to close it so much

that he even said that he was
to be buried in the Museum.

I believe that in itself is the
total culmination of his work.

In October 1984,

Dalí settled permanently
in the Torre Galatea,

in a set of rooms that communicated
internally with the Museum.

I think another of the
reasons why he chose it

is also because there is a huge window

that looks out on the wall of the Museum

and that was an absolutely direct connection

that he established with his Museum.

In his room, Dalí often spent hours

looking at the stone wall opposite.

This reminded him of
what Leonardo da Vinci said

about being able to see
images of great battles

in the stains on a wall,

and of Piero di Cosimo

among the tuberculosis patients,

who saw dragons and other monsters
in the sputum coughed onto the walls.

Dalí, who had always known
how to see beyond reality,

found in these visions a form of escape.

He led a very closed life,

and he chose to see only a few people,

his staff of nurses, his whole team,

and especially Antoni Pitxot.

It was interesting because

I was with Dalí for some of this time.

In fact he had asked me
to read Stephen Hawking's

"A Brief History of Time" to him.

And we would read articles
from the "Scientific American,"

because he had not lost his curiosity.

He still had that very profound vision

and that curiosity, which
he never lost for a moment.

Dalí's doctors were visiting him regularly,

and although his condition was stable,

he was fully aware that he was in a process

of irreversible deterioration.

Pitxot, always close to his friend,

was by his side, supporting him.

They were very hard moments for Dalí

because he was someone
who had created that mask,

his persona as such,

which was one of his works,

and he was perfectly aware of his decline,

precisely because he retained that lucidity,

that magnificent mind he always had,

while his physical condition
was failing to keep up with it.

Every night, before going to bed,

Dalí would always ask
Antoni Pitxot the same thing.

He wanted to hear
Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde."

In the opera, there is an apotheosis

in which Tristan descends from the sky

and the trumpets sound.

This represents the arrival of Tristan,

and it was only then that Pitxot leaves

and Dalí would fall asleep.

Dalí was always interested in science,

in the possibilities it offered him,

in optical phenomena.

And he was always
interested in new languages.

That was the way that Dalí found

to go on explaining the inexplicable,

by way of science, when it seemed to him

that other approaches had been exhausted.

And a symposium on determinism and freedom

was organized in his Museum,

entitled "Process of Chance."

Mathematics has nothing to say to reality.

That is your point of view, it's not mine.

It was the confluence of the search

for a faith he could not find

and the support that science
gave him in seeking to explain

the processes of chance, of chaos,

and in fact, quantum mechanics and physics

helped him look for answers that,

in the last analysis, he did not find.

What Dalí was seeking in science

were new foundations from which to approach

the immortality he so desired.

And to overcome death,

always so present in his life and his work.

I enjoy tremendously every
single moment of my life.

Because of death, all times very close,

watch me.

And the death like catch me,

and every five minutes,
the death no catch me,

I enjoy tremendously.

...a little piece of Vichy water,

you said to me a little tea or something...

Everything becomes one tremendous pleasure,

because the death surrenders,

and because the death is so close,

it's possible make erotic

every single piece of my life.

I have lived with death
since I have known I breathe,

and it kills me with a cold voluptuousness

only comparable to my lucid
passion to outlive it every minute,

every infinitesimal second
of my consciousness of being.

This constant, stubborn, fierce,

terrible tension constitutes
the whole story of my quest.

There comes a time, especially
in the last period, I think,

when what concerns him
most, more than physical death,

is the death of the intellect,

the non-transcendence.

Step by step, little by little,

and day by day, it was
clear that one more page

of his transit towards the end was turning.

And Dalí saw it and accepted it.

Dalí, the eternal observer,

was the spectator of his own end.

In fact, the Dalí Theatre-Museum
goes much further.

It is also the consolidation of his desire

for transcendence and immortality.

In spite of Dalí's health problems,

his last stage had moments of great richness.

He liked to look back, to
remember, to go over his youth.

He remembered García Lorca, Buñuel,

the tangos of Irusta, and Demare.

In June, 1932,

there suddenly came to my mind

without any close or conscious association,

which would have provided
an immediate explanation,

the image of The Angelus of Millet.

This image was composed of a very clear

visual representation and in color.

It was nearly instantaneous

and was not followed by other images.

It appeared to me absolutely modified

and charged with such latent intentionality

that The "Angelus of Millet"
suddenly became for me

the most troubling, the
most enigmatic pictorial work,

the densest and richest
in unconscious thoughts

that I had ever seen.

This painting produced in
him a dark anguish so acute

that the memory of these
two immobile silhouettes

pursued him for years
with the constant disquiet

produced by their continual
ambiguous presence.

There is another fundamental theme in Dalí,

which is his interpretation
of Millet's "The Angelus,"

and is an interpretation that makes through

the paranoiac-critical method,

a method that was his contribution

to the Surrealist movement

and made him stand out over the others.

Because he engaged with paranoid thinking

and understood that
reality is never as we see it,

the more deeply we look at reality,

the more interpretations we can find.

While we may see this
painting as a conventional scene

of two peasants reciting
the midday Angelus prayer...

Dalí, in contrast, saw two parents

mourning the death of their son,

because he did not interpret
the carrycot as a carrycot,

but rather as the coffin of a child.

Surely, in fact, it is a direct reference

to both the premonition of death,

which is what the icon
of Millet's "The Angelus"

ended up being for Dalí,

and to the obsession with his brother's death

that stayed with him all his life.

And it was in the Torre Galatea,

right next to the church
where he was baptized

and opposite the wall of the building

in which he had his first exhibition,

that Dalí spent the last days of his life

before finally being extinguished

on January 23, 1989.

Tell me this what do you think

will happen to you when you die?

Myself no believe in my own death

You will not die?

No, no believe in general death,

but in the death of
Dalí, absolutely not... not.

Si believe in my death becoming very afraid,

almost impossible.

You fear death? -Yes.

Death is beautiful, but you fear death?

Exactly, because Dalí is contradictory

and paradoxical.

In fact, I believe that we have had to reach

the 21st century to
appreciate all of the capacity

for rebellion and that appeal

to individual freedom that Dalí makes.

In effect, Dalí invites us

to be transgressors through provocation.

There is a constant provocation

and we feel provoked
because we are being provoked

by a thinking machine.

To enter into his mind is
to enter fully into his time

and thus to enter into the
whole world of the 20th century.



Heaven is what I have been seeking all along

and through the density of confused

and demoniac flesh of my life... heaven!

Alas for him, who has
not yet understood that!

When with my crutch I
stirred into the putrefied

and worm-eaten mass of my dead hedgehog,

it was heaven I was seeking.

When, from the summit of the Molí de la Torre

I looked far down into the black emptiness,

I was also and still seeking heaven.

Gala, you are reality!

And what is heaven?

Where is it to be found?

"Heaven is to be found
neither above nor below,

"neither to the right nor to the left,

"heaven is to be found exactly in the center

of the bosom of the man who has faith!"

At this moment, I do not yet have faith,

and I fear I shall die without heaven.

My triumph will lie in the fact

that I was able to overwhelm my period

and at the same time achieve immortality.

My triumph is the gold

that accounts for my present-day success

and nurtures my eternal genius.