Well, this is a lot of fun! It’s also hard to know how to review it, as it’s not an art book, but it certainly is, or aspires to be, a work of art in its own right.
What it does is precisely what it says on the tin. It takes seven of what the blurb says are Dali’s most important works, including The Persistence of Memory, Dancer in a Skull and Fifty Abstract Paintings Which as Seen from Two Yards Change into Three Lenins Masquerading as Chinese and as Seen from Six Yards Appear as the head of a Royal Bengal Tiger, which last must count as the longest and most pretentious title ever for a painting.
Dali is a controversial and divisive figure and the fact that, later in life, he produced work simply for money and regardless, pretty much, of any artistic merit has clouded his reputation. Was he ever serious, or simply a monstrous joke at the expense of the art establishment and those who simply take the whole thing too seriously (or even at all seriously)? Answering that one could probably gain you straight Oxbridge entry: it seems like an ideal essay question, along the lines of the genuine “All power corrupts but flower power corrupts absolutely. Discuss.”
So, having established that this isn’t a book about art or, really, about Dali, that was entertaining, wasn’t it? Why did we go down that sideline? For a very good reason, my friends, because these are the sort of thoughts this book will provoke, along with smiles and a gasp of awe at the quality of the card engineering, which is of the highest and ranks alongside that classic of the genre, Jan Pienkowski’s Haunted House.
At twenty quid, it’s quite a lot of money for a piece of whimsy but, if you have space on your coffee table and a few arty friends, you really should leave it about, just for the pleasure of watching them tie themselves in Dali-esque knots trying to analyse it. But only if you have the machinery to make them a good double decaf skinny latte first, I think.
Click the picture to view on Amazon