New book explores relationship between Gainsbourg and Dalí
ACN journalist Pere Francesch reveals the artistic and personal links between two great artists in 'Gainsbourg i Dalí, moi non plus'
No one has really explored the relationship between French singer Serge Gainsbourg and Catalan artist Salvador Dalí in any great depth, until now that is.
'Gainsbourg i Dalí, moi non plus' (published by Edicions Cal·lígraf) is a new book by Catalan News Agency (ACN) journalist, Pere Francesch.
Written as a journalistic account, in the book Francesch explores the links between the artists, compares their personalities, and looks at the influence they had on each other.
Using accounts by different witnesses, Francesch's book invites the reader to "identify" with the story of the men, brought together from an extensive range of documents.
The title of the book is from something Dalí said in 1951: "Picasso is Spanish, me too. Picasso is a genius, me too. Picasso must be 72, and I'm 48. Picasso is known all over the world, me too. Picasso is a communist, me neither," which in French is 'moi non plus.' Then 17 years later, Gainsbourg performed his best-known song, 'Je t'aime moi non plus.'
"[Gainsbourg and Dalí] put on a mask, and both of them had to pay a very high price for wearing those masks, especially at the end of their lives"
Pere Francesch · Journalist
Released to coincide with Catalan Book Week, Francesch's book is available in bookstores from Tuesday.
Masters of self-publicity
The book shows its two protagonists as provocative, eccentric, scatalogical, masters of self-publicity, lovers of scandal and luxury, controversial and great creators who drew heavily on eroticism and sexuality.
Yet, Francesch also points to their "introversion" that led them to create alter egos. "They put on a mask, and both of them had to pay a very high price for wearing those masks, especially at the end of their lives," says the journalist.
Francesch chose to write the book in a traditional journalistic style that is increasingly rare these days. "As a journalist, I decided to go for the classical style of journalism that allows you to interview people and gives you time to research the documentation," says the author.
'Gainsbourg i Dalí, moi non plus' was born out of Francesch's love of the French singer's music, an "obsession" that led him to look for links with Catalonia, until he came across the connection with Dalí: "From then on, the things I discovered were a huge surprise," he says.
A long relationship
As the book shows, the lives of Gainsbourg and Dalí not only came together due to their artistic and personal affinities, but also because they came across each other throughout their lives.
They first met in 1948 after Gainsbourg had a number of sexual encounters with Elisabeth Lévitzky, who would go on to become his wife, in a Paris apartment owned by Dalí.
At the end of the 1940s, Gainsbourg and Dalí met for the first time in that apartment. The artists would go on to bump into each other in the Hotel Meurice, Maxim's restaurant and the Club Elysée Matignon, and went on to become friends.