As in every iconic work by Salvador Dalí, several features which fully reflect the Dalinian universe are concentrated around the sculpture of “Nobility of Time”, where sculptural substance is the product of invisible reality, imbued with dreams and paranoias, the symbolic and the irrational, and natural and technological aspects.
The expressive power of this work stems from the conceptual metamorphosis of Dalí’s view of the nature and meaning of Time - in a symbolic dimension that leads the observer to oscillate around the enigmatic concepts of Time and cross the threshold of an awareness of the relativity of Space and Time.
The work demonstrates a will to bring the power of paranoia inside the sculpture itself, and allows Dalí to penetrate deeply into many facets of Time’s themes.
The reality of Time is subjected to a paranoiac-critical method and changes through continuous metamorphoses, where a Nobilitation process is started which reveals new meanings and adds various dimensions to Time.
The watch becomes deformed by following the shape of the trunk that it gently lies upon.
It symbolizes Time, as a memory of the past, preserved by its roots, which cling to a huge stone, which provides the base of the sculpture.
On the other hand, this stone suggests a different interpretation of the work, since it reveals the presence of life next to elements that are devoid of vitality, and the life-death contrast indissolubly unites the tree with the stone, where the one seems to take part in the metamorphosis of the other.
If, in the first dimension, the tree appears to be lifeless, in a different reality it is possible to perceive rebirth among its branches, and the roots of the tree seem to breathe life not only into the new leaves, but even into the stone, which, through metamorphosis, becomes a vital element of the tree itself.
Moreover, metamorphosis becomes the key to learning new and interesting meanings.
If, in the real dimension, the crown of the watch is the part that allows you to change the time, the date and to wind the watch, in the Dalinian dimension, the royal crown symbolizes the Nobility of Time and its royalty, which identifies Time as a Superior entity, where mastery remains immutable and uncontrollable by man.
The watch itself, the softness of which becomes synonymous with movement, goes beyond Time, and, following Plato’s “Myth of the Winged Chariot”, reaches a dimension of immortality. It thus becomes a source of movement for the other elements of the sculptural composition, and this metamorphic process culminates with the attainment of its appearance under a new form, both Noble and Eternal.
The resulting effect once again unveils new meanings, and calls into question the powerful symbol of Time. The latter is seen, on the one hand, as a rational an natural element, dominated and organized in accordance with rules generated by man, and on the other hand, as an ethereal element, in continuous mutation and regeneration, directed from Above.
A duality that coexists simultaneously, next to Time, and which becomes a creative part of the Nobilitation process initiated by the great stone, the base and foundation on which the sculpture was born.
Two characters accompany Time during the Nobilitation process: a contemplative angel and a woman with a threadlike figure.
Dalí chooses to depict the angel as a man concentrated in the act of contemplation. Its stance calls to mind the sculptural work "The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin, and embodies the universal human concern for remembrance, and its profound obsession with Time’s nature.
On the opposite side, the female figure looks upwards while holding a drape in her hands. Dalí depicts her in a standing position, but she seems almost lifted from the ground, and her lightness, which is the result of the drape’s movement, takes the eye of the viewer beyond reality, leading it to recognize the power of the unconscious, the only power capable of preserving the reminiscences of Time.
A Time that reigns supreme over reality and art.
The complexity and fascination that the two figures evoke reside in their correlation and representation.
Through oneiric vision, the woman and the angel lose touch with the univocal dimension of their identity and acquire new meanings.
Both reflect a reversed reality, where each figure seems to be the reflecting matter of the other; they symbolize the permanence of the human side in the angelic figure having its head bowed in contemplation; and of the angelic side in the female figure, looking upwards with arms outstretched to support the drape, eager to take flight.
A flight towards new metamorphoses and new enigmatic meanings, which never seem to end in Dalí’s body of work.
Image: Dalí Monumental Sculpture “Nobility of Time”, c/o the Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Petersburg (2018).