We found Labaš, doyen of Surrealism in Croatia, in a good mood while he was disposing his works, but although the set up of the exhibition is in its closing phase, he did devote a little time to us and a few words about the exhibition. Asked why he was so fascinated by Dali, Mr Labaš replied that it was not about fascination, although Dali was indeed one of the best Surrealists, rather that his works devoted to Dali were created at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, at the time the famous artist was becoming celebrated worldwide. Dali was in many ways different and special, and the media were untiring in transmitting intimate details from his life and the views he expressed and covered every event at which he figured, for Dali did his best to make every outing a sensation. Labaš recalls the events he found most striking, for example, an exhibition in Rome in which Dali came in a top hat and bowed before and after he had looked around the exhibition; in New York he came with a loaf of bread of several metres; and his jump from the steps and fracturing a knee is impossible to forget. “All that passed through my head, but it didn’t obsess me,” says Labaš, and goes on: “One day I was flicking through a journal and came on a photograph that I liked so much I did a drawing, and then later on a print from that. They took this drawing for the title page of the journal Paradox, which was coming out at that time. They even gave the drawing the title Insect, and it will be on show with my drawings and objects at this exhibition.
When we asked him whom he would pick out as his favourite artist, he said: ”I like Goya, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Picasso, Braque and Mastisse are closer to me, but I find De Chirico an excellent painter. .. I like everything that people have painted and rendered well.”
But the hommage, after all, was to Dali.