Though one of the most popular artists of the twentieth century, Salvador DalÃ is typically seen as peripheral to the dominant practices of modernist painting. Roger Rothmanâs Tiny Surrealism argues that this marginal position is itself a coherent response to modernism. It demonstrates how DalÃâs practice was organized around the logic of the inconsequential by focusing on DalÃâs identification with things that are literally tiny (ants, sewing needles, breadcrumbs, blackheads, etc.) as well as those that are metaphorically small (the trivial, the weak, the superficial, and the anachronistic). In addition to addressing the imagery of DalÃâs paintings, Tiny Surrealism demonstrates that the logic of the small was a fundamental factor in DalÃâs adherence to the techniques of miniaturist illusionism. Long derided as antimodernist and kitsch, Rothman demonstrates that DalÃâs style was itself a strategy of the small aimed at subverting the dominant values of modern painting.
Tiny SurrealismÂ does not only examine DalÃâs pictorial work; it also probes the artistâs many public pronouncements and private correspondences. By attending to the peculiarities of DalÃâs technique and examining overlooked aspects of his writings, Tiny Surrealism is the first study to detail his deliberate subversion of modernist orthodoxies.
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