After their meeting in 1929, Gala and Dalí never again separated, sharing their entire lives and, what’s more, a creative project Dalí himself stamped with a signature that sums up this joint authorship which history nevertheless has never done justice to. In fact, if Dalí’s own artistic production has a large element of performance in it, and the person and the pictorial and literary work are two sides of the same coin, why not accept a certain co-authorship on Gala’s part in this Dalinian creative project, just as Dalí acknowledges it in the signature and in some of his writings?
If the Gala Salvador Dalí project can be thought of as an essentially conceptual one, Gala’s part in it goes beyond the role of muse, just as it did in her relationship with her first husband Paul Éluard. The collaboration between Gala and Dalí therefore shows itself far more subtly than in just the brushwork. In their game of mirrors, they complement and complete each other. They reflect each other.
When Gala and Dalí first met, a powerful attraction sprang up between them which lasted until her death. “She was already there. Who, she? Don’t interrupt me. I say that she was there and that ought to suffice! Gala, Eluard’s wife. It was she! Galuchka Rediviva”, we read in The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí. Dalí broke with family, friends, his mother tongue... and together they developed some extraordinary complementarities: Gala provided the practical sense behind which she obstinately concealed her creative gifts.
In spite of Gala’s insistence on hiding her creative gifts behind Dalí’s shining success, there is no doubting her direct participation in the grand creative project Gala Salvador Dalí, which culminated in Púbol as the ultimate great object of the Surrealist duet. As we are reminded in a manuscript relating to The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí with regard to Gala: “From then on she collaborated closely in Dalí’s ideological development and it was she who filed and corrected those long writings that were to make up several volumes”.
- The eye of the female dandy: self-portraits and autobiographies
Like a dandy, Gala through her gaze created a work of art that is more a process than a product. What’s more, she produced Surrealist objects, texts and sketches and is, above all, as we have seen, the joint author of part of the Gala Salvador Dalí creative project. We could venture, then, that it was she who chose the image with which she wanted to present and, especially, represent herself. It is possible to design one’s own self-portrait without producing a tangible pictorial work.