“Dali: Mind of a Genius” Shocks Taipei at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

July 13, 2012 |  by

One wonders how Chiang Kai-Shek would have reacted to seeing the work of the famed Surrealist artist Salvador Dali; with its strange melting clocks, lobster phones, and menacing eyeballs. It could easily be imagined that the first president of Taiwan, a life-long hardened soldier, would stare quizzically at one of the huge melting-clock sculptures currently on display at the Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall and ask: 這是什麼?(What is this?) It’s an apt question, considering that his namesake memorial hall will host one of the most exciting art exhibitions ever to come to Taipei–Dali: Mind of  A Genius. 

The exhibit, which will remain on display at Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall until September 30th, contains over 100 works ranging from life-size size sculptures to tiny carvings; huge oil canvases to small ink sketches. The pieces in the exhibition are a part of the largest collection of Dali’s work in the world, and have travelled to more than 80 museums worldwide. The popularity of the exhibition is testament to the enduring appeal of Dali’s work, noted for its striking juxtapositions and its bizarre images.

Upon entering, visitors are suddenly arrested with the surreal sight of a giant statue, modelled after Dali’s painting Burning Giraffe. And the surprises don’t end there, as one walks past the statue and immediately enters a narrow, red-velvet line corridor lined with sketches. It’s a fitting way to begin a journey into the whimsical and oft-disturbing- mind of Salvador Dali.

The exhibition is clearly marked into sections, with both Chinese and English descriptions inscribed on the wall. There are sections such as Soft Watches, a collection of Dali’s famed melting clock statues; and Religion & Myth, which includes both sculptures and ink drawings that express Dali’s insight on subjects such as classic Bible stories and Greek mythology. Visitors can’t help but stop and stare at one of the final—and most startling—works, Spellbound, for the work is literally staring right back at them. Every square inch of the larger-than-life canvas, which spans an entire wall, is painted with naked eyeballs.

In Dali’s kingdom, reality and the physical world cease to be limiting factors. Rather, the imagination and the subconscious mind reigns. His works can have the effect of delighting (make sure you don’t miss the whimsical Lips Sofa) and shocking (cabinet drawers protruding out of a naked human form in Cabinet Anthromorphique) its viewers. There’s no guarantee to what you might see in this exhibition: but there is one guarantee—you won’t be bored.

Dali: Mind of A Genius at Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Address: No.21, Zhongshan S. Rd.
MRT: CKS Memorial Hall
Ticket Price: $250 NT

On display until September 30, 2012
Listening guides (Chinese) and tour guides are available, inquire upon arrival.
Website (Chinese only)


  • Catherine Kai-lin Shu

    Dali is one of my favorite artists… I’m looking forward to checking this out.

  • Hsu Hui Ting

    Nice exhibition!

  • Christine Yeh

    exciting! cant wait to see it

  • Jeremy Blum

    Interesting that they would put this exhibit at CKS instead of MOCA or one of the other museums.

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