On April 21, the Museum of Modern Art of Mexico opens the exhibition Leonora Carrington. Magic dreams to remember this unique woman: a multifaceted artist, ahead of its time, passionate and flatly surreal, but also a woman who ended up locked up in a psychiatric unfairly when she entered Spain. In part, for trying to free his lover, the artist Max Ernst. But mostly for trying live Free at a time when women of their kind were not allowed to leave the script.
No one better than Leonora herself to tell her own story in the autobiography Memories below, a fundamental text to understand the pain of this woman. But also to know better the movement of surrealism.
A story that could be the script of a Hollywood movie and that begins in the most luxurious London of the early twenties.
Belonging to a good family, Leonora was presented in partnership with all the pomp in the presence of King George V and seemed to have the city at his feet for his good crib. But something got in the way of a life that seemed perfectly organized from the beginning: Leonora fell in love with artist Max Ernst, who was in the city preparing exhibitions, and escaped with him, demonstrating his rebellious and passionate personality. Already at that time she also had a huge talent and had painted incredible works, even the millionaire collector Peggy Guggenheim bought her a painting.
The scandal forced the couple to flee to France, where also the artist André Breton, nothing more and nothing less than the founder of surrealismHe adopted her as one of his own.
Always in the shadow of the biggest movementDalí, Duchamp and Man Ray, Leonora was one of the stars of the movement, despite the injustice with which history has always treated women.
He hugged his lover and the surrealist movement with passion. Both took refuge in a cottage in Saint Martin d'Ardeche, where they dedicated themselves to love and produce an important artistic work, always persecuted by her family, but also by the Nazis, since Ernst was Jewish.
After being arrested for the second time, Leonora Carrington traveled to Spain in order to find a solution to free her love. And so he arrived in Madrid, with what she called a terrible "war syndrome": weak physically and mentally, upset and terribly worried about the future of his love. Symptoms of an understandable vital despair, but someone unfairly turned into madness.
His father conspired with the Spanish authorities and the British consul to disguise his tone outings as madness and got Leonora locked up in a madhouse in Santander. Sedated, medicated, bound hand and foot, totally defeated and helpless.
That income eventually became half a year of nightmare: "I lay several days and nights on my own excrement, urine and sweat, tortured by mosquitoes, whose bites put me a horrible body," says Leonora herself in her autobiography, even though she talked about that experience in recent years of his life still caused him a lot of pain. But he managed to survive.
Carrington survived the terrible experience, partly thanks to his intelligence, but also to the reading of classics like Unamuno. And little by little he gained the respect of the doctor to whom he had entrusted his position, who sent her a few months later on a trip with the company of a nurse. Despite the image offered by that weak English lady, she managed to get away from her caregiver and went to Lisbon, where she found refuge in Mexican journalist Renato Leduc, secretary of the embassy in Portugal. The couple ended up traveling to Mexico along with other Spanish immigrants and after divorcing, she decided to stay there, the place where she felt most comfortable living her surrealism.
There he married for the second time with the photographer Emérico Weisz, he had his children and devoted himself fully to his work, without letting anyone or anything tell him how he had to produce his art. Only then did Leonora Carrington get into art history as one of the surrealist artists of Latin America. Books like Leonora Carrington. A surreal life investigates more in this singular woman and in how she became a reference, as an artist and as a woman.
In the exhibition that opens this week, his fans will find many of his paintings, sculptures and drawings already known to fans and for the first time they can enjoy them physically and not through illustrated books. An example of this is the Artist's Self-Portrait, owned by the New York MET and never exhibited before in Mexico. For those not so fortunate to be able to visit this exhibition we always have the possibility to enjoy the beauty of their work through books such as Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art.
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MEMORIES BELOW (Modern Heroes)Today in Amazon for € 14.15
Leonora Carrington. A surreal life (Noema)Today in Amazon for € 22.80
Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and ArtToday in Amazon for € 32.21