By LUCY THOMPSON
For the first time in Ulaanbaatar, a collection of works by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso is on public display. Amassed by Russian businessman and philanthropist Alexander Shadrin, roughly 200 paintings, sculptures, and ceramics form the “Dali and Picasso” exhibition at the Fine Arts Zanabazar Museum. Open until May 29, admission is 10,000 MNT for adults, 7000 MNT for students, and 3,000 MNT for children.
This is the 4th largest Dali collection in the world, showcasing a wide range of his output from sculptures to etchings, and even videos, which allows the viewer to consider different aspects of Dali’s works. Pieces on display include the limited edition bronze sculpture “Space Venus”, and “Moon” and “Sun” from “Flora Dalinae”, a collection of etchings released in 1968.
The vibrant and luxurious colors in “Space Venus” really draw the eye, while its details explore the favored Dali theme of duality; Dali presents a classical goddess merged with the sci-fi idea of outer space, featuring a melting watch symbolizing the transience of mortal beauty and the timelessness of art.
Similarly, “Moon” makes use of vivid colors set against an incredibly intricate background to convey the richness of Dali’s imagined world. An ant – representative of impermanence – is also found in this etching. When contrasted with its opposite, “Sun”, the undertones of death and the passage of time become more visible.
The inclusion of two artists in one exhibition encourages comparison of their different techniques and styles while appreciating the genius of both.
The “Imaginary Portraits” lithographs by Picasso demonstrate his belief in painting from ideas and feelings, using colors and shapes to express what was within, rather than focusing on realistic form. In his own words, “colors, like features, follow the changes of emotion.”
This exhibition prides itself on allowing the viewer to “not only enjoy classic Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso art, but also to explore the new facets of their talents… and get inspired.” “Dali and Picasso” is true to its word.