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The Reintegration of the Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory

   by Melissa Meleen for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: The Disintegration of the Persistance of Memory

Inspiration Artist: Salvador Dali

The Reintegration of the Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory
Mystery Build By M. M. Meleen

In 1931 Salvador Dali painted his iconic work called The Persistence of Memory, famous for its depiction of watches melting. Over twenty years later and during the atomic age, he reinvented his own work with his painting The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, in which he breaks the elements of the original work into floating and levitating pieces representing the breakdown of matter into atoms. He has flooded the landscape, and the orange pocket watch and insects of the first work have disappeared, replaced by a floating fish and atomic missile-like shapes. The distorted and stretched human visage morphs into a version of the fish above it.

I call my reinterpretation of Dali’s own reinterpretation The Reintegration of the Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory. Here the insects from his first work reappear with the intent of restoring the disintegration and stitching the atoms back together. The orange pocket watch is back, and in true surrealist style has mutated into a spool of string which the ants commandeer. The bee or fly-like insect has also returned, and flies about manning a needle threaded onto the string. We see the point where together they have just reentered the scene and begun the process of sewing the floating particles back into their original form.

Cast of Characters:

Drooping Watch Face (over tree branch): made with painted Sculpey polymer clay with watch hands cut from the glue bottle, glued on with hot glue stick. The watch winder floats below it attached by a thread unwoven from raw canvas.
Floating Melting Watch Face 1 (center): made with a watch whose face is made from melted glue stick smoothed with a heat gun and then painted with acrylic numbers, and a body made from Sculpey polymer clay and wire with watch hands cut from the glue bottle and glued on with the glue stick to appear suspended. It is attached to the support with wire and bits of label paper.
Floating Rippled Soft Watch Face 2 (lower right): made with a watch face and hands made from Friendly plastic pellets, and a painted Sculpey polymer clay body, with an invisible levitation support of wire, glue and paper.
The Yellow Fly: made from a body of glued Chavant modeling clay with wire legs and wings cut from the plastic baggie that the pellets came in, painted.
The Ants: made from a body of glued Chavant modeling clay with legs made from unbraided rope strands stiffened with glue, painted.
The Orange Pocket Watch: made with a glued core of unraveled and rewrapped rope over which the string is rolled until it resembles a ball of string. The string is woven from thread unraveled from raw canvas; braided using a rope weaving technique called the “reverse wrap” and then dyed with India ink.
The Needle: made of wire, bent and filed sharp, with Sculpey polymer clay “weld” and silver marker.
The Fish (who spawned Dali’s original work’s first title called The Chromosome of a Highly-coloured Fish's Eye Starting the Harmonious Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory): made from Chavant modeling clay and wire, painted; with attached atomic missiles of carved wooden dowel stained with ink.
Distorted and Stretched Human Visage: made from Chavant modeling clay, painted, with eyelashes made from a section of raw canvas, partially unraveled, dyed with India ink and stiffened with glue.

Supporting Cast:

Dead Olive Tree, Foremost: made from unpainted Chavant modeling clay and wire with carved dowel atomic missile at base.
Dead Olive Tree, Distant: made from unpainted Chavant modeling clay and wire.
The Mountain: made from sliced, glued, carved and painted floral foam.
The Atoms of the Wooden Block: made from hardwood blocks cut in progressively smaller sizes to aid illusion, sawed with a handsaw and miter box, and a Xacto saw blade and hobby-sized miter box, which were then sanded with progressive grades of sandpaper and stained with wood stain and India ink. Some putty made from wood flour from the sanding was used as mortar underneath to level them where needed and float them above the surface a bit.
The Atoms of the Ground: made from thin hardwood sheets sawed with a handsaw and miter box, and Xacto saw blade and mini hobby miter box which were then sanded with progressive grades of sandpaper and stained with wood stain and India ink.
The Floating Surface of the Water: made from raw canvas that was sewed together with threads pulled from itself, over a core of thin wood slices, paper label from box, wire and glue. The canvas was painted to resemble the reflection of the mountain and sky. Over this is an exterior shell made from cellophane wrapper from the canvas board to represent the water’s shine.
The Rock Between: made from glued, carved and painted floral foam above and below water.
Flotsam and Jetsam (watch bits lower right): a spherical blob of hot glue and a few bits made from painted wood slices.

The Stage:

Backdrop: made from the plywood, canvas board, thin hardwood slices, and cardboard reinforced with wire, glue, label paper and newspaper strips. The seams were plastered with wood putty made from wood flour from the block sanding and then the surface was sanded until smooth. The distant elements were painted on to give the illusion of receding into the distance when photographed at a good angle.
Base or Flooded Floor: made from the kit cardboard box cut and reinforced with papier mâché made from strips of newsprint and glue, painted. Blocks leveled and floated with putty made from wood flour.

Kit Materials Used:
Acrylic Paint
Assorted Hardwood Blocks and Slices
Baggie from Friendly Plastic Pellets
Box containing Mystery Build Kit
Canvas Art Board
Canvas Cloth
Cellophane Wrapper from Canvas Board
Chavant Modeling Clay
Floral Foam Block
Friendly Plastic Pellets
Glue
Glue Bottle
Glue Stick
Label torn from Glue Bottle
Label torn from Mystery Build Kit Box
Oak Plywood
Paper from Instruction Sheet
Rope
Sculpey Polymer Clay
Shredded Newsprint
Steel Wire
Wooden Dowels
Embellishments: acrylic paint, gesso, gloss coat, India ink, metallic silver marker, wood stain
Photography considerations: precise camera angle essential to create the illusion of floating

The photo file named "primary entry composite" will probably be the best one for judging. It shows a full view of the project plus some alternate views of objects within it. I've also included an alternate photo that you could use for judging if you prefer and it is allowed, that includes thumbnails of the two Dali works referenced by my project. That alternate photo is named "composite with Dali works referenced". The photo file called "project alone" is included in case you want to observe the project without the composite items, but I think is not the proper aspect ratio. The rest of the photos are shots from the project in progress, each labeled with what stage of the work it shows. Please let me know if the photographs need to be different in some way. Photography is not my media of choice and I have a very old camera, so I hope these are all right!
Also, cutting hardwood blocks that small into progressively smaller blocks was tough! Just sayin' ;)

 


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