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January 9, 2008

The Search to See: Photographs (replacing Spark)

Exhibition: The Search to See: Photographs from the Collection of Frederick B. Scheel; Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Artist: Philippe Halsman
Title: "Dali Atomicus�
Medium: Photography; Gelatin Silver Print
Year: 1948

This outstanding collection of gelatin silver prints donated by consumate collector Frederick B. Scheel features an array of celebrated photographers, inluding Phillppe Halsman. I was immediately struck by Halsman's work, and feel that amongst all the works on display this was truly a standout. It seems Halsman was fascinated by the Surrealists, and he by they. Halsman became especially close with Surrealist darling and future mustachioed loony Salvador Dali, and over the decades they colloborated on several projects. One of these, and perhaps one of Halsman's most famous photographs, is "Dali Atomicus" in which Dali is suspended in the air like some sort of Surrealist tornadoe, with his canvas, water, cats and furniture all frozen in space, swirling in suspended animation, caught like flies in some sort of photographic honey. I've always adored Dali, and felt as though his work, especially his early work, was mind-bendingly orginal. I don't think many would argue with me on that point. Here Halsman has captured Dali in a photographic reproduction akin to one of Dali's own paintings, and the technique, the composition of the photgraph is flawlessly executed, each component - the screeching cats, the rush of water, Dali's twisted smile- is astonishingly modern. I walked away feeling very lucky to have seen it.