Illusions and realities

Salvador Dali Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach (1938)


Illusions and realities at the RA 

Before the gallery visit, I wasn’t sure I would find a connection between the artists paintings to my practice investigation. After viewing Dali/Duchamp and Johns work I thought the two exhibits complimented one another. Where Salvador Dali looks at the dream world, Jasper Johns touches on the concept of reality, ultimately both explore the idea of the viewers perceptions. With my expanded practice I also look at our perceptions and how we associate it with the way we approach a place. Dali’s paintings are in the style of surrealism, when you look at his paintings they almost trick your perception into seeing one image but when you look at the surrounding context the same image alters into a different image. For example Dali’s Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach (1938)contains many optical illusions. What appears to be a pastel fruit bowl, then merges into a forehead, or the depth of a pond. On top of the bowl looks like several pears which then seem to merge into curly locks of hair or stones. I find it clever how the painting transitions smoothly from one section to another. The painting may look confusing but upon closer inspection there are several paths the paintings guides your view point to see a different image.

I was drawn to Johns exhibit and the way he looks at making the familiar unfamiliar. How he experiments with the idea of perceptions, that we see things on the surface but looking closer there is another layer subtle but with detail that changes the way we see the whole image again. In his series of America’s flag, Johns realistic paintings challenges the viewer to question whether the flag is a real flag or a painting of a flag.

What we see on the surface in an instant can lead to quick assumptions. Contributing factors include colour, shape and texture. When we look at the same image again at a different perspective our understanding changes. Somehow in relation to my practice theme, this thought on perceptions lead me to the thought of short cuts and long routes, where in society short cuts are often portrayed in books and films as places associated with negative consequences. The long route despite it taking more time and effort is often associated with a more positive outcome. Having previous knowledge on one subject can influence our future perceptions on a similar matter.