Thursday, 29 July 2010

LEONORA CARRINGTON 'MAP OF DOWN BELOW' 1943, AT 'SURREAL FRIENDS' EXHIBITION IN CHICHESTER





Yesterday I went to Chichester to see the 'Surreal Friends' exhibition at Pallant House, which presents the work of Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna - an English painter, a Spanish painter and a Hungarian photographer, who met in Mexico City in 1943 when in exile from the War. While in Mexico the general public has always been aware of Leonora's work as a major surrealist painter and figure, most people in England, where she was born, are not aware of her and her work.

For me, the most interesting work in the exhibition was not one of her surrealist paintings, but the drawing 'A Map from Down Below', which formed part of her short story 'Down Below' from 1943, where she recounts her adventures in Spain "on the other side of the mirror", after escaping France from the advance of the Germans and being institutionalized and diagnosed mentally insane, and before fleeing to Mexico.

The drawing from a 'A Map from Down Below', anticipates and almost looks like a future footprint for the concrete tropical garden her friend and patron, eccentric English visionary Edward James would develop in the jungle of Xilitla in Mexico...

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