I went to the Dali exhibition on Sunday with the Missus and the Kid. The queue was very long but we bypassed this frustrating occupation thanks to my son's ability to whinge at the right moment. A compassionate security guard (yes, they exist) allowed us to use the members' queue. Lovely.
It was interesting, particularly his earlier works which were prima facie unrelated to his more famous surrealist stuff. You know, the melting clocks and so on.
What I found most interesting was my four year old son's reaction to the paintings. I'd been apprehensive. Would he be interested? Would he last the distance as I did the slow, plodding, gallery shuffle? Boy, he loved it. He didn't want to look at every painting - who did? - but chose those that caught his attention such as the self portrait pictured above entitled The Sick Child.
My son saw things, details, that at first I hadn't seen. For example in The Sick Child the first thing he saw were the long fingers. He questioned me about it. Fortunately he's still at the age where he believes everything I say and thinks I know everything (one day he'll be shattered but for now I'm happy to ride that wave) and so I blabbed something obscure which he accepted. Standing before another painting he noticed that the subject had 'pooed his pants'.
"I don't think so," I said, staring closer at the brown mess below the arse of the man on the rocks.
"I think he has Daddy."
"Maybe you're right. Maybe he has pooed his pants."
"Jesus Christ, he has too!"
"I told you."
"Yes but I was looking at the bigger picture."
"I was looking at the poo. Look! He's bleeding from his head."
"Are you sure?"
"He is too."
"You're silly Daddy."
Quite. I was looking at the forest. He was looking at the trees.