10 Corso Como Gallery presents “Salvador Dalí, Jean Clemmer. An Encounter, a Work” curated by Fondazione Sozzani in collaboration with the Jean Clemmer Archive, directed by Hélène Clemmer Heidsieck.
On view for the first time in New York, this exhibition of photographs represents a long-term creative collaboration and friendship between Swiss photographer Jean Clemmer (Neuchâtel, 1926 – Paris, 2001) and surrealist artist Salvador Dalí (Figueres, 1904 – 1989).
Shown in two sections, there are forty-two prints from among Dalí’s “Mises en scène” (1962 – 1967) and “Metamorphoses” (1970 – 1995) series, as well as photographs taken during the filming of “Le Divin Dalí” (1964), a short film that was tragically destroyed shortly after being made.
Clemmer worked with some of the most prominent fashion figures and artists of his time, including Paco Rabanne, with whom he published the book “Nues”. Clemmer met Dalí in 1962 and they began to create a series of photographs together in the house where Dalí lived with Gala, his muse and wife, at Port Lligat in Spain.
This exhibition includes one of their earliest collaborations entitled “Mises en scène”. Dalí often set dreamlike scenes that explored themes of mythology, science and magic for Clemmer to capture. The Crucifixion, Levitation, nuclear explosions, and eroticism were prominent motifs. For a piece entitled “Les Pois chiches” Dalí suspended a young girl named Ginesta upside-down and poured chickpeas over her body, which bounced off in a way that simulated a nuclear chain reaction. For another work, Dalí disguised himself as Hermes Trismegistus, a legendary magus and author of hidden sacred texts of the Hellenistic age.
In 1970 Jean Clemmer conceived his first series “Metamorphoses”, representing Dalí as an apparition. By overlapping slides on a single print, Clemmer was able to create the illusion of a constant flow of rebirth: from silhouettes of nudes emerge paintings (“La pêche au thon”), incorporating cut ups from the architecture of the Gala and Salvador Dalí Foundation, portraits of Dalí, and the Mises en scène.
The exhibition also features rare “behind the scene” unpublished prints taken on the set of the short film “Le Divin Dalí”, which was tragically destroyed in a fire while still in the lab. Clemmer understood the extraordinary cinematic potential of Dalí’s performances, so in 1964 they decided to make a film in the Claude Jioudioux studio. Dalí acted as the director and Clemmer photographed the scenes.
Dalí described the central scene of the film as “Cannibalism and Angelicism”. “The vomit, you know,” Dalí said, “is what comes closest to love.” Cannibalism for Dalí represented an allegory that implied a transmutation and a rebirth. Clemmer’s prints are the only testimony to this surrealist work.
Salvador Dalí, Jean Clemmer: An Encounter, a Work
November 16, 2018 – February 3, 2019
10 Corso Como Gallery
Fulton Market Building
1 Fulton Street, New York, NY 10038