Food Obsession?

By cloelea, Jul 27 2017

I recently visited two exhibitions, on simultaneously in the South of France: “Picasso Perpignan, Le Cercle de l’intime, 1953-1955” presented in Musée d’art Hyacinthe Rigaud de Perpignan, and “Eureka Dali”, presented in Musée d’ar moderne de Céret.

Whereas I am not a great fan of Picasso’s work, I like very much Dali’s, but I did enjoy Picasso’s line drawings. What stroke me after viewing both exhibitions was that they both seemed to have an obsession about food! or maybe it was sex, desire and perhaps love?

These exhibitions do not have this kind of theme in mind: the Picasso exhibition talks about his intimate moments spent in Perpignan with family and friends, and Dali’s exhibition is directed toward his close relationship with sciences and how he used them in his creations.

However I have found several connotations related to the theme of food in its most decadent and sensual sense. The art work of Picasso presented there is varied and include as well as paintings and line drawings (portraits of the women he loved as well as his children), ceramics (as well a photographs of his time in Perpignan) and a poem written by Picasso while he was in Perignan, in the summer 1954 which attracted my attention:

“Quel joli petit cul a le soleil

La tranche de pastèque de la lune, il la mange

dans le plat de crabe de ses yeux de mauresque

les bandes de couleur du sucre de sa bouche

sifflent l’hallali du bouquet de friture qui carbonise le riz au poulet de mets taillés

en pièces et étendus de tout son long sur les draps mouillés de sa chevelure bleue

quelle grâce à le temps qui passe

dans ses yeux vêtus de mascara et en train de danser”.

Picasso, Portrait de Françoise Gilot, 1979
Photo of Picasso with Paule de Lazerme

This poem echoes some of Dali’s art work as well as some of his writings. In fact one of the section of the exhibition is entitled: “Beauty will be eatable or will not be” (“La beauté sera comestible ou ne sera pas”).

“La beauté sera convulsive ou ne sera pas écrivait André Breton dans Nadja en 1928. Dali répondra par le formule “La beauté sera comestible ou ne sera pas”, concluant un texte consacré à l’architecture modern style, déclarée érotique et comestible; l’objet du désir devant être mangé, précisera Dali.”

“J’adore manger des armures, en fait tout ce qui est crustacé. les crustacés ont réalisé cette merveilleuse idée essentiellement philosophique de porter leurs os à l’extérieur et de préserver leur chair si délicate à l’intérieur comme un dermo-squelette. Protégeant de cette anatomie rigide leurs délires mous et nutritifs, ils restent à l’abri de toute profanation extérieure, enfermés dans un vase solennel que seule la décortication rendra vulnérable aux conquêtes impériales de nos palais” (extract from his autobiography: La vie secrète de Salvador Dali, 1952).

Dali, Les Chants de Maldoror, 1934-1974
Dali, Les Chants de Maldoror, 1934-1974

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