Architectural fictions and other stories: Dalí / Duchamp
Monday 6 November 2017, 6.308pm

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dalí (1904–1989), Building Study, 1939. Pen and ink and pencil on lined laid paper, 258 × 210 mm.

Monday 6 November 2017, 6.30–8pm
Royal Academy of Arts
Burlington House, Piccadilly
London W1J 0BD

Inspired by Dalí and Duchamp’s interests in storytelling, the Royal Academy presents a closer look at the role of architectural fictions in practice.

The work of Salvador Dalí and Marcel Duchamp presented a symbolic and psychologically charged view of the world based on dream-like imagery set in fictional landscapes. They acted as storytellers who used allegory as a way of organising ideas through figurative means and often through architecture. For Dalí, it was a way of expressing the subconscious, something to bring out the previously unattainable; while Duchamp saw allegory as a mathematical equation – an abstraction that allows us to better understand the relationship between selected components.

Often ending up in an undefined territory between art and architecture, there are many architects who have used the work of Dalí and Duchamp as a starting point for their own fictional landscapes and alternate realities.

From the surrealist references in early OMA Manhattan drawings, to Bernard Tschumi’s Advertisements for Architecture and the science fiction landscapes in the work of Lebbeus Woods, architects have used this approach to reveal the contradictory nature of the world and to question reality itself. Join us as we bring together different practitioners whose work is imbued with poetry, art and symbolic meaning to discuss their relationship with the legacy of Dalí and Duchamp.


Sam Jacob – architect, columnist, design critic; principal of Sam Jacob Studio. See Drawing of the Week.
Neil Spiller – founding Director of the AVATAR Group; the Hawksmoor Chair of Architecture and Landscape and Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, London; author of Surrealism and Architecture – A Blistering Romance
Peter Wilson – architect; co-founder and director of Bolles+Wilson. See Drawing of the Week.
Niall Hobhouse – art collector, writer, trustee of Drawing Matter

Supported by Drawing Matter

For further details see Royal Academy Events.