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Life’s but a dream, more surreal than reality
This series is inspired in Antonio Gaudi’s Modernism and Salvador Dali’s Surrealism and celebrates the centennial anniversary of the beginnings of Surrealism in 1916. In this photographic work, avant-garde styles interrelate and enhance each other, acquiring new meanings through a personal reconverted imaginary.

The title "Life’s but a dream, more surreal than reality" refers to this connection in a subtle and ingenious way. On the one hand it refers to the statement of Salvador Dali himself: "There is nothing more surreal than reality" and on the other, calls for the symbolic explanation that the philosopher Josep Maria Carandell offers on one of Gaudi’s most famous works: La Pedrera. According to the writer, the roof of Casa Mila is based on religious, cosmogony and literary concepts; identifying with a dramatization of the origin of life and family. According to this hypothesis, the theatrical character of the terrace would have its origins in the theatrical play "Life is a Dream" by Pedro Calderon de la Barca in which Sigismund corresponds to the "warrior son”, the good and heroic protagonist of the play cited.

Salvador Dali was a great admirer of this terrace, where he was photographed in 1951, in its surreal scenery, halfway between abstraction and figuration. Shapes of figures with organic undulations, similar to a set of overlapping masks or to a Mobius strip, are the ideal setting to photograph the beauty of the female body. The black and white photographs taken in La Pedrera show architectural forms in harmony with the feminine curves, in a sort of sculptural communion. The plasticity of the lines of both corporalities plunges us into an atmosphere of delicacy and flexibility where everything flows.

The images related to Dali, taken in the Costa Brava, have a more surreal look. In some of them color is introduced, emphasizing a dreamlike unreality. The majority of them contain specific elements of Dali’s world such as: eggs, watches, lobsters, starfishes or breads. These components gain recognition at the International Exhibition (New York, 1939) in which the American city was the meeting place of modern nations. Salvador Dalí participated creating an independent pavilion designed by himself, entitled The Dream of Venus, in which he displayed his imagination from the paranoiac-critical perspective on a scenographical work of art. The pavilion featured a spectacular facade full of bumps that reminded the Pedrera building by Antoni Gaudí. The front door was flanked by two columns in the shape of two female legs with stockings and high heels. One of the main images was the reproduction of The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, whose head claimed to have been replaced by one of a fish, according to the wishes of Dalí. This idea, clear reference to Magritte's famous painting The Collective Invention, was dismissed by the organizing agency of William Morris alleging that such an occurrence would not attract the mass audience [1]

The title refers to the oneiric and disquieting world of dreams narrated by a beautiful goddess. Proof of this is the recording that was given as a souvenir, also titled "The Dream of Venus" in which you could hear a dream monologue narrated by actress Ruth Ford playing Venus and accompanied by various choirs of men and women. Among the phrases recited some significant were: "I am Venus, the most beautiful women of the world" and "I was born from sea foam and I am attended by the most beautiful mermaids of the ocean" [2]. Inside the pavilion visitors could see a water ballet performance in two large pools with mermaids –also designed by Dalí.

Women with the most characteristic dalinian elements are reinterpreted in these photographs by Miguel Soler-Roig in a unique way. The scenarios where these photographs have been taken [3] also provide content and symbolic meaning to each image. The result is a series of puzzling photographs that transport the viewer to a magical place in which he will long remain.

[1] Many of the initial concepts of the painter were forced to be modified, which led Dalí to complain about the impositions of the organization in a pamphlet he titled “Declaration of the independence of imagination and rights of man to his own madness” [2] Schaffner, Ingrid. Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus: The Surrealist Funhouse from the 1939 World's Fair. Princeton Archit.Press, 22 nov. 2002.p.96 [3] Dali’s house in Portlligat, Cap de Creus and Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueras.
Miguel Soler-Roig © 2018 All rights reserved · CLICWOW