Art Exhibition,  English

Hallucinogens and Other Drugs

I will neither confirm nor deny any drugs I may or may not have experimented with in the past. In the present, I find many intriguing and interesting, despite being unsure of the things they’ll do to an already over-active mind and imagination – but again will not admit what they are.

(This is your brain … on drugs. Does anyone else remember that PSA from the 1980s/1990s?)
Salvador Dalí, Eggs on the Plate without the Plate, 1932.
Oil on canvas, 60.3 x 41.9 cm.
The Dalí Museum, St Petersburg (Florida).

Whilst bad, and mind altering, sometimes forever, various drugs are at the very forefront of the entertainment industry. Walt and Jesse are nearly household names because of their mad skillz (I hope you heard that in Aaron Paul’s voice) as meth cooks on Breaking Bad. Mary Louise Parker has given so many of us a soft spot for the middle-class single mother that is forced to sling drugs in Weeds. The Wire took a groundbreaking look at inner-city dealings and addictions (on all sides of the spectrum). And, of course, whatever the heck V in True Blood is meant to mimic. Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen are in and out of trouble for cocaine use. Whitney Houston MAY have overdosed from prescription pills or crack. But, friends, where are the hallucinogens?!

Salvador Dalí, Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War), 1936.
Oil on canvas, 99.9 x 100 cm.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia.

Reviewing Salvador Dalí’s work, every single time, without fail, makes me question what’s been slipped into my beverage (or brownies). The melting and sliding images of obscure sizes and shapes make my skin crawl in a way that only a proper hallucinogen can – or so I imagine. Not to mention his bizarre obsession with ants, which appear so innocent as they skitter across our counters and up our walls that we don’t take them very seriously, but really – why don’t we? I cannot delve further into their utter disregard for human space and existence for fear of not being able to sleep tonight. But know that I do not find them harmless.

Salvador Dalí, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, 1946.
Oil on canvas, 89.5 x 119.5.
Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels.

Dalí made it very clear: “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” And fine, I respect that. But wouldn’t you agree that being as full of yourself as he was, perhaps he was his own drug? A bit too much serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins – simply too much everything? Get off of your ridiculously long-legged high horse, Dalí, and paint something the rest of us can relate to, you pompous, self-absorbed, egotistic maniac. Good day.

Feel like you’re on drugs without the terrible next-day comedown while getting your fill of melting clocks, long-legged horses, and women from behind at Le Centre Pompidou through 25 March. Bring my nightmares home with you in The Life and Masterworks of Salvador Dalí by Eric Shanes.

-Le Lorrain Andrews

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