Master of Surrealism Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington  (6 April 1917 – 25 May 2011) was an English-born Mexican artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. She lived most of her adult life in Mexico City, and was one of the last surviving participants in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s. Leonora Carrington was also a founding member of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico during the 1970s.arrington was born in Clayton Green, Chorley, Lancashire, England. Her father was a wealthy textile manufacturer, and her mother, Maureen (née Moorhead), was Irish. She had three brothers: Patrick, Gerald, and Arthur.
Educated by governesses, tutors, and nuns, she was expelled from two schools, including New Hall School, Chelmsford, for her rebellious behaviour, until her family sent her to Florence, where she attended Mrs Penrose's Academy of Art. In 1927, at the age of ten, she saw her first Surrealist painting in a Left Bank gallery in Paris and later met many Surrealists, including Paul Éluard.Her father opposed her career as an artist, but her mother encouraged her. She returned to England and was presented at Court, but according to her, she brought a copy of Aldous Huxley's Eyeless in Gaza (1936) to read instead. In 1935, she attended the Chelsea School of Art in London for one year, and with the help of her father's friend Serge Chermayeff, she was able to transfer to Ozenfant Academy in London (1935–38).She became familiar with Surrealism from a copy of Herbert Read's book, Surrealism (1936), which was given to her by her mother,[8] but she received little encouragement from her family to forge an artistic career. The Surrealist poet and patron Edward James was the champion of her work in Britain; James bought many of her paintings and arranged a show in 1947 for her work at Pierre Matisse's Gallery in New York. Some works are still hanging at James' former family home, currently West Dean College in West Dean, West Sussex..When she returned to Britain, she enrolled in the art school established by the French modernist Amédée Ozenfant







 N 1936, Leonora saw the work of the German surrealist Max Ernst at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London and was attracted to the Surrealist artist before she even met him. In 1937, Carrington met Ernst at a party held in London. The artists bonded and returned together to Paris, where Ernst promptly separated from his wife. In 1938, leaving Paris, they settled in Saint Martin d'Ardèche in southern France. The new couple collaborated and supported each other's artistic development. The two artists created sculptures of guardian animals (Ernst created his birds and Carrington created a plaster horse head) to decorate their home in Saint Martin d'Ardèche. In 1939, Carrington painted a portrait of Max Ernst, as a tribute to their relationship. The portrait was her first Surrealist work, and it was called "The Inn of the Dawn". It is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The person in the painting is a cross between a male and a female, who is seated in a room with a rocking horse on the wall. Carrington had an interest in animals, myth, and symbolism. This interest became stronger when she moved to Mexico and started a relationship with the émigré Spanish artist Remedios Varo. The two studied alchemy, the kabbalah, and the post-classic Mayan mystical writings, Popol Vuh.With the outbreak of World War II Ernst, who was German, was arrested by the French authorities for being a "hostile alien". With the intercession of Paul Éluard, and other friends, including the American journalist Varian Fry, he was discharged a few weeks later. Soon after the Nazis invaded France, Ernst was arrested again, this time by the Gestapo, because his art was considered by the Nazis to be "degenerate". He managed to escape and, leaving Carrington behind, fled to America with the help of Peggy Guggenheim, who was a sponsor of the arts.







 Following the escape to Lisbon, Carrington arranged passage out of Europe with Renato Leduc, a Mexican Ambassador. Leduc was a friend of Pablo Picasso, and agreed to a marriage of convenience with Carrington so that she would be allowed to cross the Maginot line due to the diplomatic immunity accorded to a diplomat's wife. Leduc spirited Carrington away to Mexico, which she grew to love and where she lived, on and off, for the rest of her life.The pair divorced in 1943. Events from this period continued to inform her work.After spending part of the 1960s in New York City, Carrington lived and worked in Mexico once again.While in Mexico, she was asked, in 1963, to create a mural which she named El Mundo Magico de los Mayas, and which was influenced by folk stories from the region. The mural is now located in the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City.
Carrington designed Mujeres conciencia (1973), a poster, for the Women's Liberation movement in Mexico, depicting a ‘new eve’.Carrington, personally and primarily focused on psychic freedom, understood that such freedom could not be achieved until political freedom is also accomplished. Through these beliefs, Carrington understood that “greater cooperation and sharing of knowledge between politically active women in Mexico and North America” was important for emancipation.[3] Carrington’s political commitment led to her winning the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Women’s Caucus for Art convention in New York in 1986.
" I didn't have time to be anyone's muse... I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist."







 Carrington stated that: "I painted for myself...I never believed anyone would exhibit or buy my work." She was not interested in the writings of Sigmund Freud, as were other Surrealists in the movement. She instead focused on magical realism and alchemy and used autobiographical detail and symbolism as the subjects of her paintings. Carrington was interested in presenting female sexuality as she experienced it, rather than as that of male surrealists’ characterization of female sexuality.[30] Carrington’s work of the 1940s is focused on the underlying theme of women’s role in the creative process.




In Self-Portrait (1938), Carrington offers her own interpretation of female sexuality by looking toward her own sexual reality rather than theorizing on the subject, as was custom by other Surrealists in the movement. Carrington’s move away from the characterization of female sexuality subverted the traditional male role of the Surrealist movement. Self-Portrait (1938) also offers insight into Carrington’s interest in the ‘alchemical transformation of matter and her response to the Surrealist cult of desire as a source of creative inspiration.’ The hyena depicted in Self-Portrait (1938) joins both male and female into a whole, metaphoric of the worlds of the night and the dream. The symbol of the hyena is present in many of Carrington's later works, and it was even used to depict Carrington in Max Ernst's work "La Debutante" in his book The Oval Lady.Her book The Hearing Trumpet deals with aging and the female body. It follows the story of older women who, in the words of Madeleine Cottenet-Hage in her essay "The Body Subversive: Corporeal Imagery in Carrington, Prassinos and Mansour", seek to destroy the institutions of their imaginative society to usher in a "spirit of sisterhood." The Hearing Trumpet also criticizes the shaming of the nude female body, and it is believed to be one of the first books to tackle the notion of gender identity in the twenty-first century. Carrington's views of sexuality, however, differ from contemporary feminists in that she sees maternity as a key experience to femininity. Carrington stated, "We, women, are animals conditioned by maternity.... For female animals love-making, which is followed by the great drama of the birth of a new animal, pushes us into the depths of the biological cave"Carrington's art often depicts horses, as in her Self-Portrait (Inn of the Dawn Horse) and the painting The Horses of Lord Candlestick Her fascination with drawing horses began in her childhood. Horses also appear in her writings. In her first published short story, "The House of Fear", Carrington portrays a horse in the role of a psychic guide to a young heroine. In 1935, Carrington's first essay, "Jezzamathatics or Introduction to the Wonderful Process of Painting", was published before her story "The Seventh Horse". Carrington often used codes of words to dictate interpretation in her artwork. "Candlestick" is a code that she commonly used to represent her family, and the word "lord" for her father..Wikipedia






Post a Comment