Liquid Desire Salvador Dali NGV International 180 St Kilda Rd Melbourne

Saturday morning: NGV Members viewing of Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire at NGV International. Otherwise known as the Dali moshpit.

As I was brought to a halt by the conveyor belt of people, I quickly decided that I would have to come again another time. So I spent only about 30 minutes in the extensive exhibition, scanning each room for items that caught my eye and then honing in on those works only:

  • Three young surrealist women holding in their arms the skins of an orchestra. The background of the painting was the surreal looking but actually accurate depiction of the Catalonian beaches of Cadaques with women holding a floating bubble of a grand piano and a flacid cello. The picture pulsed with a myriad of sexual connotations.
  • The land. The remorse of conscience. An azure blue sky with a large curled scroll, an outsized hand and the terrorising elements of blood and faeces.
  • Slave market with apparition of the invisible bust of Voltaire. A painting of lush velvet richness referencing religious Renaissance works and incorporating the optical trickery of a scull.
  • Cyclops. A reworked photographic portrait created by a three-quarter view of Dali’s face and then reversing the negative for the second half of the exposure. It made me laugh because it made Dali look like a one-eyed Mr Potato Head.
  • Phillipe Halsman’s jumping shots. Such lightness, humour and creativity in these famous photographs.

Otherwise I spent my time admiring the design of the galleries themselves: rich black vertical striped wallpaper with a bold centrepiece of blossoms which evoked an elegant salon; a red velvet corridor reminiscent of a throbbing throat.

To avoid the crowds, I think the best time to visit will be Saturday 3 October, when the exhibition will be open for 24 hours. Imagine coming to see the works in a deserted space at 2am, eating some Camembert and then reliving Dali’s surrealist world by experiencing a vivid cheese dream!