As it did in the medium of prints, “Space Venus” presents us with one of Salvador Dali’s most seemingly bizarre images – and we can’t take our eyes off of it!
This tantalizing, curiously seductive sculpture in green patina features Venus, the goddess of beauty – a subject that is central to two other iconic works: Dali’s Venus de Milo in Drawers sculpture, and his masterful oil painting, “The Hallucinogenic Toreador.”
In the present “Space Venus” sculpture, we might interpret Venus’s divided torso as symbolic of the fragile nature of beauty. Similarly, the soft watch oozing off her neck perhaps represents the transient nature of beauty and the flesh, while the hard permanence of the rest of the sculpted body might reflect the more enduring aspects of great art, which transcends time.
The egg is a popular element in various Dali works, generally symbolizing life and the creative spirit.
And finally, the ants are reminders of our mortality and impermanence – subjects with which Dali was preoccupied – no, make that obsessed – virtually all his life.
“Space Venus” is a supreme example of not just surrealism, but Dalinian surrealism!
By Paul Chimera
(Mr. Chimera worked directly with Dali Museum founder Reynolds Morse, as the publicity director of the original Dali Museum when it was located in Beachwood, Ohio.)