Sunday, January 10, 2010
Salvador Dali, Hiroshima and Okinawa
Spanish artist Salvador Dali was deeply terrified by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and his exact, detailed style was very much suited to show the horror of the A-bomb, which America tried to keep a secret by classifying photos and descriptions until the end of the occupation of Japan in 1952. The Bureau of Atomic Tourism has more details if you want to know more about the legacy of nuclear weapons in the U.S.
Even today, do people understand the real horror of atomic bombs? If not, then, why not?
Dali's paintings are on display in Fukushima prefecture, where you can view Melancholy Atomic and Uranium Idyll and The Three Sphinxes of Bikini at the Morohashi Museum of Modern Art.
Long YouTube video from the Nihon University (Nichidai) channel with an interview featuring Morohashi Eiji, the son of the founder of the unique museum, and scenes from the Morohashi Museum (29:20):
Is there a hidden message in Dali's Bikini hydrogen bomb painting from 1947? Morohashi Eiji has the details around 12:30-14:00.
Wishing to find out more about Dali's inspiration around this time: The Triangle offers this quote:
During the post World War II era, Dali found a new inspiration in the person and the ideas of Werner Heisenberg and his Uncertainty Principle. Along with this came a renewed interest in religion and Dali coined a new term for this "Nuclear Mysticism". In his "Anti-Matter Manifesto" of 1958 Dali wrote: "In the Surrealist period I wanted to create the iconography of the interior world and the world of the marvelous, of my father Freud. Today the exterior world and that of physics, has transcended the one of psychology. My father today is Dr. Heisenberg."
Dali Planet notes:
The atomic bomb that levelled Hiroshima in 1945 had an enormous impact on Dali’s way of looking at the world. He was certainly among the first artists to recognise that the arrival of the nuclear age had fundamentally altered man’s perception of nature. In the decades to come Dali immersed himself in physics and produced dozens of works depicting objects exploded into their component particles...
In the year of Hiroshima he painted “Melancholy Atomic and Uranium Idyll”... In a bombed bunker intermingling atoms and electrons seem to draw a connection between aerial assault and baseball, one critic noting that the New York Yankees were known as the Bronx Bombers.
Dali also made a statue, the Sun God Rising In Okinawa as a tribute to the island.
When it was loaned to the island’s Urasoe City Museum for a 2008 exhibition, people called on the owner to give it to the prefecture permanently. (Photo from Okinawa daisuki na ningen)
Strange, but I cannot think of even a single American artist who compare to Salvadore Dali. Is there even one man or woman who stood up and made a case against nuclear weapons?
Classified Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by Hiroko Takahashi (pdf)