A lesser-known side of Dali

It is all hidden away in the basement of the new Cervantes Institute building on Mitropoleos Street in Monastiraki. That is where you can see photographs, dust jackets and pages of books that are all linked to the special relationship artist Salvador Dali had with books. Those who visit the exhibition find themselves immediately drawn into another world, one much more evocative and charming. Photographs of Dali, all in one way or another associated with books, cover the walls. The display cases contain books Dali used to own, many of the sides of which he had painted, or books that he had illustrated. It is all part of the «Dalibros – Dali and Books» exhibition, on display at the Cervantes Institute through February 5. In the bilingual edition accompanying the exhibition, experts on Dali state that to the artist books were much more than just objects, given that he believed they represented the more theoretical aspect of being, a belief he often spoke and wrote about during his lifetime. The idea for this exhibition was thought up in 2004, the year the world celebrated what would have been the 100th birthday of the great Catalan surrealist artist. That was when the exhibit was first presented at one of the museums of the Center for Dalinian Studies, at Pubol Castle, the artist’s former home. It contains many books from his personal library, including books on art, architecture, literature, history, physics and biochemistry, as well as dictionaries and encyclopedias. According to Montse Aguer Teixidor, director of the Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation’s Center for Dalinian Studies, the artist was an avid reader as an adolescent, influenced by the democratic spirit prevailing in his hometown of Figueres, where his father was a notary, while his uncle was the owner of the old Verdaguer bookstore on the famous La Rambla in Barcelona. The photographs presented in the exhibition, which are on display for the very first time in Greece, elegantly highlight the artist’s special relationship with books, depicting him walking or being in libraries, his office, his living room, traveling or in the strange reading positions that he adopted. Next to the photographs one can see his drawings or paintings. His library contained a total 4,337 books, in 228 of which he had made notes or drawings. Dali had said that he would rather leave his books than his paintings to the succeeding generations. He left us both, which, combined, make up the universe of a great artist. Cervantes Institute, 23 Mitropoleos, Monastiraki, tel 210.363.4117

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