Last week I crashed into the most fantastic and less known works by Salvador Dali: The Alchemy of the Philosophers, a project that produced a very limited amount of artwork, but actually took Dali 4 years of research to fulfill. The years of investigation of original documents written by alchemists from the 2nd century AD till the 16th century, kept Dali busy studying mathematics, geometry and natural sciences , making sketches and mixed-media drawings for years until he finally was able to fulfill all necessary transmutations and arrive to the final work. What an amazing process!!
The final presentation of the work is a huge wooden Book with a full sheet containing liquid mercury ( now removed for health issues), and the fantastic paintings and mixed-media drawings shown here, but accompanied by original texts by notorious Alchemists from all over the planet, China, Arabia, Greece,Egypt, France,Spain, etc,etc, depicting subjects like inmortality, Phoenix, The kings, Yin and Yang,The Emerald Table, The Tree of Life, among others.
The blend of philosophy, creativity, mysticism, science and The transmutation of the matter and the non-matter as the basic principle of Alchemy, both in the physical as in the spiritual world, just came back and hit me big time, for I have been an avid reader of Alchemy for years, and this curiosity actually led me to a scientific career in Chemistry in what I use to call ” my former life”, back when I was a young boy, and from which I have detached myself some 24 years ago, just when I started working as a photographer. I totally gave up on my career and former life.
This time Dali just gave me the chance to review and rekindle great things from my not-so-dead part of myself that I had put aside for no reason whatsoever, except to try to leave behind my scientific background, when in reality, I just can’t , only that now, I know that I should not, and I just deliberately won’t. On the contrary, Dali has just gave me back a part of my past, as a gift for my future as a visual artist, and for this, I will never forget him and the Alchemy of the Philosophers. The transmutations that are happening in my brain as I write will most likely influence my directions from now on.
On a second thought, I have come to realize I have been already influenced by Alchemy forever, but in a subconcious way , as can be seen in my Chemo-Digital Series of images, an ongoing portfolio that started ages ago, and for different reasons,I have not been able to round it up, simply because I perceive it like an ongoing, never ending work in progress, an itch I just can not fully scratch, maybe they conform a series of sketches of something bigger still to come, so for the moments, I will just keep working.
More about my Chemo-Digital Series is available on my fine Art website: