The Dynamics of Seeing within Salvador Dalí’s Illustrations of Dom Quixote

In this fourth collection of my photos from the Salvador Dalí retrospective at Instituto Tomie Ohtake São Paulo, I thought that I would describe a little more about my three different experiences, and how one particular viewing of one particular painting brought out the concept of the dynamics of seeing.

The first time I visited, I went, literally, with no technology at all – no camera, watch, phone – nothing. This allowed me to plunge deep into the emotional experience, an experience of really quite crazy parts and wholes, stepping back to view a painting from afar, and then moving close up to see the tiny details in the backgrounds, the far distances in the landscapes.

I find that I can get quite tired, especially as Dalí’s drawings are so richly detailed, and when I returned a second time for my photographic exercise, I was noticing more.

However, this weekend I was able to return with Maria. While we arrived early, there were still crowds, and so I took her to the third room where we would begin our tour, starting with Dalí’s illustrations of Dom Quixote. This series of paintings was not one of those I had spent much time studying on my previous two visits, and so I had a little surprise on viewing this particular abstract composition below:

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Some of you, especially those of you with a certain background, will notice the figures immediately, figures that I had not seen before. It took Maria to point out what would soon become glaringly obvious.

In our book Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter we discuss the dynamics of seeing in part one, which accounts for around half of the book. The reason is that our dynamic way of seeing, even for many people who are acquainted with the term, can remain hidden to us, and so here is an excellent example of how Maria, with her Catholic upbringing, could instantly see the very obvious Madonna and Child, while I myself had not seen the figures at all, focusing more on the quite explosive energy of the composition.

In Holonomics we do have a couple of different illustrations to help people explore the dynamics of seeing, and how we can discover these dynamics by going back upstream into the seeing of what is seen. I do not want to reveal too much about these figures for those of you who have not seen them, but once you have really understood the deepest aspect of the lessons, then a whole new world opens up to you.

Those people who have studied the dynamics of seeing but who have not learned the lessons think that they know how to see, but in fact their mental models direct them to a position which says that it is other people who cannot see, their world view is the correct one and they could not ever be mistaken in their perceptions.

I myself do not consider myself to have yogic levels of mindfulness. I do though try and work on my humility, and feel that I am mindful enough to know when the dynamics of seeing are really kicking in, and when I need to force myself to be mindful of my own thoughts, my own constructions, and to look to see what I am missing. I was mindful enough to know that I could not take in the whole retrospective in one fell swoop, and that I have the great fortune to be able to visit more than once.

So with that in mind, here are some more of my pictures from Dalí’s illustrations of Dom Quixote. I hope you enjoy them, and that one day you may get to see the originals, for which these photos can be no true e substitute for.

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

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5 responses to “The Dynamics of Seeing within Salvador Dalí’s Illustrations of Dom Quixote

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