A fascinating exhibition has just opened at the Dalí Museum, in St Petersburg Florida. Disney and Dalí: Architects of the Imagination opened on the 23rd of January and takes us down the magical rabbit hole of two of the most recognizable artists of the 20th century: Dalí the magical, Spanish surrealist and Disney, the magical, American animator. Once considered an eccentric, the other a dreamer.
They met as the Second World War ravaged Europe, and Dalí and his wife Gala, fled to America. Disney and Dalí met at a party and the two minds connected. They started working together shortly afterwards at Disney’s Burbank studios in 1945. For a few months Dalí was on the payroll and produced over 250 sketches, 13 full-scale paintings and several story board manuscripts for an animated love story, a an alternative “boy meets girl” love story as Disney put it.
The exhibition’s curator, film-maker Ted Nicolaou, described Disney as “a man ready to experiment in any way possible.” He truly wanted to connect with his audiences imagination. Sadly, the film was never made in their lifetimes. Some claim it was too “sexy” for the Disney brand, others think that Disney’s confidence had been knocked by the hostile reaction to Fantasia, released in 1940, and did not want to risk another commercial flop.
Dalí’s art works remained in the studio archives and it was only in 2000 that Roy Disney decided to make the film that his uncle had abandoned. The Film, Destino, functions as one of the multi-media climaxes in this exhibition of fascinating original paintings, story sketches, conceptual artwork, correspondences, archival film, photographs, original paintings, story sketches, conceptual artwork, objects, correspondences, archival film, and photographs.
Dalí Museum Executive Director, Dr. Hank Hine, said, “This exhibition will provide a deeper look into the lives and artistic prominence of Disney and Dalí. Through their dedicated work, artistic visions, and ingenious self-promotion, their names are forever fused with their art in our collective imagination. We wake in the world they dreamed for us.”
As well as a fascinating insight in to the two men’s friendship, and how their dream-like minds complimented each other – Disney had a way of drawing the audiences in, and Dalí the knack of jolting and disturbing them – the exhibition also gives audiences brand new insight into some of Dalí’s artwork, under the title Dreams of Dali, specifically his 1935 piece Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus, which, in 3 virtual reality stations in the exhibition, allows visitors to go inside, and beyond the painting. Lucky, lucky visitors!
Both men were supporters of technological process and its influence on art, and undoubtedly would be impressed by the work of the future generations of artists influenced by the great men. To have a little taste of what you might expect to see at the exhibition, here’s Destino, which was completed from their work in 2003 after their deaths.