Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Cacophony of Shouts

Inside the Sagrada Familia
For over a week, I have devoted the bulk of my free time to completing my essay on James Joyce and Salvador Dali (which I will be presenting at the North American James Joyce Conference in Pasadena on June 16th). After finishing it the other day, I've been immersed in some further residual readings related to my study of these two 20th Century master craftsmen. One book in particular has really been sparking my interest, the extravagantly titled Unspeakable Confessions of Salvador Dali as told to André Parinaud. It's from the early 1970s so Dali, who had been a famous artist for about 5 decades already, has plenty of interesting things to say. I've been most fascinated by his discussion of the paranoiac (a main aspect of my paper) but I will get into it all of that here later on, I'm planning on writing a big post detailing all of the books used for my essay.

So I was reading it today and Dali was speaking very favorably about an architect, Antoni Gaudi, who hails from Catalonia, Dali's hometown in Spain. I had never heard of Gaudi or his works before and so I had to look him up after reading such laudatory praise as this:
The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

What I love about Gaudi is his vitality. His brain is at the tips of his fingers... I remember Lorca [Garcia Lorca, the Spanish poet, a friend of Dali's] in front of the admirable facade of the Sagrada Familia claiming to hear a griterio---a cacophony of shouts---that rose stridently to the top of the cathedral, creating such tension in him that it became unbearable. There is the proof of Gaudi's genius. He appeals to all of our senses and creates the imagination of the senses. Gaudi researched this deeply by studying applications of acoustics. He turned bells into organ pipes....
Everything in his work, light as well as silence, "transports us elsewhere," and none was more adept than he at using bad taste to throw us, decondition us, tear us away from the sterility of good taste. He provokes us down to our innermost depths. Through him, everything is metamorphosis, nothing is taboo nor set any longer, the Gothic rejoins the Hellenic, which in turn merges into Far Eastern forms....The Sagrada Familia is a magnetic tuning-fork whose waves spread ceaselessly and penetrate all minds receptive to the irrational that often practice and live art nouvea unwittingly. (pg 146-147)

Needless to say, I'm in awe.

1 comment:

  1. PQ, there is a movie on Gaudi's work which came out in '85 or '86. I saw it some years later in a special presentation. It's a little dated in filming style, but I think you'd like it if you can find it. I think it's the one that's just called Antonio Gaudi.

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