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  • Paavan Parasramani

The Salvador Circus: Eccentricity in Surrealism

Salvador Dalí, the artist with a moustache so sharp it could slice through reality itself, wasn't exactly regarded for playing it safe. His works were dreams blended with a dose of the unexpected, and his 1948 work, “The Elephants”, is not any exception.


A giant, sun-baked desolate tract stretches out forever. But rather than the usual tumbleweeds and cacti, lumbering throughout this dreamscape are elephants. Salvador’s eccentricity seems justification enough, for those elephants sport ridiculously lengthy, spindly legs and, on their backs lie ancient Egyptian obelisks, a glimpse of the bizarre.


This is the world of Dalí. A world where elephants defy gravity, time warps in a Salvadorian heatwave, and facts flee from the creativity outpouring from his thoughts.

Dalí wasn't simply an artist; he was a sculptor who moulded the power of his subconscious right into a ceramic of his eccentric creativeness. Elephants, for him, represented substantial strength and information. But here, with their spindly legs, they emerge as a metaphor for the absurdity of existence, the sensation that even the strongest of us can from time to time wobble beneath the load of our responsibilities.


The barren landscape showcases Dalí stripping things down to their bare necessities, forcing us to focus on the creatures before us, offering a peek into Dalí's wild creativity, a place in which logic departs and bizarre becomes beautiful. It's a reminder that once in a while, the most powerful things in life are the ones that make us question everything we think we know. 


Salvador Dalí wasn't just an artist who painted dreamscapes; he embodied them. His well-preserved personality, with its upturned moustache and sleek outfits, mirrors the whimsicality of his work. Just as the elephants in his work defy expectations, so too did Dalí. He engaged in public stunts and outrageous performances, blurring the road between creative genius and eccentric madman. The self-crafted eccentric personality wasn't just a performance; it was a fuel for his creative imagination and presence. By embracing the bizarre and defining impossible, Dalí created a space where logic weakened, allowing the creatures of his unconscious to take flight. In ”The Elephants”, Dalí challenges us to look at the world no longer simply as it is, but as it may be;  a dreamscape where ordinary becomes extraordinary, and the impossible becomes art.




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