Friday, 2016, November 4

Inaugurated in 1991, under the sponsorship of the former president of France Jacques Chirac, Espace Dalí  houses Paris’s only permanent exhibition devoted to Salvador Dalí; more specifically to his sculptures and graphics. Located in 11 rue Poulbot near the Place du Tertre in the Montmartre district, it contains over two hundred  artworks.  As did his fellow surrealists Andre Brrton  and Joan Miro,  Dalí resided in Paris for several years. His apartment was in Montmartre,  at number 7 rue Becquerel, just two streets from Espace Dalí.

In September, Espace Dalí welcomed an auspicious new exhibition through its doors; Joann Sfar, Salvador Dalí, One Second Before Awakening. An intriguing scenario which links two artists; Joann Sfar contemporary cartoonist and film director, and the flamboyant surrealist painter Salvador Dalí 

The exhibition’s focus is on the graphic artist Joann Sfar, one of Frances most talented story tellers. Espace Dalí  has given free rein to Sfar, to create scenarios for an imagined artistic encounter with Dalí. Sfar sketches are a brilliant invitation to enter the mind of the Spanish artist. The exhibition is ‘akin to getting lost in a fairytale’, and the viewer takes a ‘motionless journey’ through dreams and reality as Sfar’s story unfolds.

Sfar’s drawings are displayed in an enchanting setting alongside Dalí’s sculptures, objects and graphics from illustrated books.  The bronze sculptures inspired Sfar in his quest to create a sketched storyboard of his imagined encounters with Dalí; inspired by iconic sculptures such as Woman Aflame, Space Elephant and Alice in Wonderland, Sfar incorporates their images into his sketches, bringing them to life through artistic transformation. ‘I believe he is reincarnated in his artworks….These sketches are the result of the psychotropic and truly ontological emotions that have forever changed me after one year of close contact with Dalí’s  artworks’ quotes Joann Sfar.

Another aspect Sfar chooses to portray in his sketches is the link Dalí had with the world of Fashion and Elsa Schiaparelli. Schiaparelli mixed with the Surrealists circle during the 1920s and 30’s and was one of the first to include elements garnered from this artistic movement in her designs.

Dalí was friends with the eclectic Italian fashion designer and the inventive pair worked together to produce remarkable creations such as the Desk Suit (1936), the Shoe hat (1937) and perhaps most famously, the Lobster Dress (1937) worn by Wallace Simpson before her marriage to Edward VIII.

A selection of dresses on loan from Maison Schiaparelli are displayed within this fantasmagorical world of Dalí and Sfar.  

This must-see exhibition is open till the 31st of March 2017.

Born in 1971 in the South of France, Joann Sfar graduated in Philosophy, and worked with comic book authors. Publishing his first graphic novels in 1984, he gained fame in 1988 with his series Donjon and garnered notoriety with his 2002 comic strip  Le Chat Rabbi (Rabbi’s Cat). In 2010 and 2011 he wrote and directed two films, both of which won awards at the Cesars French film festival. Contemporaneously, as the exhibition runs, Sfar’s latest book is launched Fine de la Parenthese. Published by Rue De Sevres, the book is a tribute to Dalí and includes the original sketches exhibited at Espace Dalí. The book is on sale at the Espace Dalí  from the beginning of  September