The Dalí / Duchamp exhibition @royalacademyarts presented an endearing, thematic insight into the unlikely friendship between the two artists: Dalí, an extrovert who was the epitome of Surrealism, using his celebrity platform to gain global recognition; Duchamp, a private, solitary man, now deemed the father of contemporary art, who never fully identified himself as a member of an artistic movement. The exhibition discussed some of the mutual interests and ideas of the artists, including identity, language, science and eroticism, as well as how they influenced one another, making you wonder whether Duchamp was purely a chess-playing intellectual, and Dalí just a self-promoting show-off, by introducing less-observed aspects of their characters. Despite the obvious differences in their personalities and visual art production they shared similar views on art and life. They both questioned artistic convention at the time: Duchamp through his ‘anti-art’, in which he challenges viewers to interact with the artwork beyond the ‘retinal’ level, by exhibiting ‘readymades’; and Dali’s later anti-painting phase during which he was searching for an original, unique artistic style, to utilise his impressive painting skills for something greater than merely imitating other artists. Dalí eventually found Surrealism, employing the paranoiac-critical method, in order to hallucinate and perceive reality in a multitude of ways, much like we practise when we see different shapes in clouds, but through an induced state of paranoia. I particularly loved the humour of the artists, as reflected in the titles of their work. Such as, Duchamp’s famous moustached Mona Lisa postcard, titled L.H.O.O.Q, phonated like the French phrase “Elle a chaud au cul”, which translates to “She has a hot arse”. It is Duchamp’s use of phonetic puns and playful language (observable through the name of his female pseudonym and alter-ego, Rrose Sélavy, believed to be pronounced like the French adage, “Eros, c’est la vie”), and the visual puns within Dali’s work, which makes their art enigmatic and enjoyable to decipher. There is so much to say about the exhibition, but all I can do is urge you to see it.