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Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics$
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Gavin Parkinson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381434

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381434.001.0001

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date: 19 July 2018

Ten Recipes for Immortality: A Study in Dalínian Science and Paranoiac Fictions

Ten Recipes for Immortality: A Study in Dalínian Science and Paranoiac Fictions

(p.213) 10. Ten Recipes for Immortality: A Study in Dalínian Science and Paranoiac Fictions
Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics

Elliott King

Liverpool University Press

From recent scholarship on the artist, one might take it that Salvador Dalí was extremely well versed in scientific theories, however the extent of his understanding is not clear. A discovery of physics evidently informed works such as Saint Surrounded by Three Pi-Mesons (1956) but that is not the totality of the painting. His ‘scientific’ canvases consist of both the initial scientific or technological inspiration and, more dominantly, the fantastical narrative Dalí develops from it. Dalí gave himself permission through the paranoiac-critical method to illustrate not simply what was directly observable but additionally – or even instead – his own unique associations. Indeed, he might wholly misunderstand a scientific concept and then, even upon realising it, deliberately build upon his ‘error’. It is here that science fiction becomes a useful lens for considering the legitimacy of Dalí’s projections, which otherwise may strike the educated viewer as irresponsibly loose applications of scientific ideas. When SF employs scientific or technological innovations as springboards for creativity, one accepts – indeed, praises – it as a product of the imagination unconstrained by the parameters of fact. Similarly, Dalí’s pseudo-scientific ‘fictions’ should not necessarily be read as evidence that he simply did not sufficiently understand his sources; rather, he was – quite openly – drawing upon science in a specifically artistic way. This chapter explores Dalí’s Dix recettes d’immortalité (1973), which has never been discussed in the scholarly literature on the artist, under the rubric of SF, demonstrating how the genre allows us to appreciate both the science and subversion of that profoundly imaginative volume.

Keywords:   science fiction paranoia criticism painting

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