Leonora Carrington: pencil, brush and different chimeras

“Expensive Henry,

[…] I am not the charming woman anymore who went via Paris, in love –

I am an previous girl, who has lived rather a lot and I’ve modified – if my life is price something I’m the results of time – So I’ll by no means reproduce the identical picture as earlier than – I’ll by no means be petrified in a “youth” that now not exists – I settle for the present honorable decrepit – what I’ve to say now could be as revealed as potential – See via The Monster – Do you perceive this? No? Endurance. Anyway, do what you need with this ghost –

On situation

which will likely be printed

this letter as a preface –

Like an previous mole swimming beneath cemeteries, I notice that I’ve all the time been blind – I attempt to really feel Demise to be much less afraid, I attempt to empty the pictures which have made me blind – […]

Leonora ”

Leonora Carrington: after, earlier than, when?

Leonora Carrington, born in 1917 in Clayton Inexperienced, England, accepted this in 1973, with a letter to Henri Parisot from the Parisian writer Le Terrain obscure, the publication of a small “insanity diary”, Downstairs, written 1943, three years after internment at Dr. Morales Clinic in Santander, Spain. In Italy, he’ll resume it shortly thereafter, in 1979, within the magnificent, empathetic translation by Ginevra Bompiani, writer Adelphi. Title: On the backside.

In Could 1940, his beloved husband, Max Ernst, was taken to a focus camp for the second time. She, mad with loneliness and disorientation, units out to cleanse herself from that injustice, from the “injustice of the world,” fasts and works on her winery and potatoes with an unknown bodily energy that she is going to by no means acknowledge later. He sweats and cleanses himself, whereas “outdoors” Belgium collapses and the Germans enter France. “With out” has been remodeled into “inside”, sure between the one and the opposite there isn’t a continuity answer. The physique is a clog of conflicts, a porous and unfastened floor. Because the Lebanese author and painter Etel Adnan (1925-2021) will write in 2003 within the monologue / stream of consciousness To be in wartime, you’ll have “unhealthy in Iraq”. The residing organism is a seismic station: its needle detects the earth’s shaking, which firmly signifies “the lengthy and slender path that leads the world to the slaughterhouse”.

Ultimately, Carrington’s wrinkled face, which can die in 2011, is a web page coated in ideograms. It took her a lifetime to erase the softness that made it shine by hiding her shadow. Time is a affected person and sensible instrument: it permits us to entry our future self, that which has all the time been ready for us in our unknown deep reminiscence. Thus the age and greatness of a tree or a stone are measured, by the sluggish work which seems on their floor and of their most intimate intrigue, which consists of likelihood and inheritance, of misfortunes and households.

In his relentless editorial launch, Carrington dismisses the “ghost” and claims the “monster”, declaring himself the “results of time” and rejecting the “petrification” that will take ceaselessly younger and formed by the needs of others. His physique is bark and fossil, and his gaze has the visionary blindness like a mole dazzled by pictures and anxious to grow to be pals with dying, the unrepresentable, the incomprehensible. The physique, destined to decompose into mud or ashes, is aware of that its resurrection is discovered within the flowers and earthworms, within the lichens and within the roots. The physique doesn’t die, it passes. Carrington has all the time identified this and has proven it with pen and brush, drawn daring hyperrealistic dream maps, unconscious traces of the unconscious. For her, proof against norms and divisions lengthy earlier than Donna Haraway’s symbionts and Anna Tsing’s uncontrollable postatomic fungi, life is a continuing mutation and everlasting intrusion between herself and every little thing else, natural and inorganic. Demise can solely be its fruits, the very best metamorphosis. So what’s it that dies sufficient to fill our earthly life with nightmares? Precisely what are we afraid of?

    Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington
Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington

Closed eyes / open eyes. Management / abandonment. Arms-perimeter / handed over our bodies. Is it essential to know who has energy over the opposite? The osmosis is apparent and the love recreation units in movement all kinds of lust figures. The male / feminine, passive / lively, dominant / dominated dichotomies should not denied, however fairly concerned, questioned, unbound, loved. In love, the physique confidently trusts the opposite physique. It’s the separation that unbalances, the gap that pushes to the sting of the abyss. Carrington will endure from this void, a lot in order that he finally ends up on the “backside”.

However that fund can be a political stance, a surplus: when the circle is tightened and the principles grow to be stiffer or irrevocable, flight turns into an obligation and an artwork, a vocal gesture and a efficiency. Carrington interprets his insanity, phases it via his personal physique and transfers it to the canvas and the web page. Outlined as “surreal”, it’s related to a motion that doesn’t totally include it. Like different artists of her era – amongst them Frida Kahlo, María Izquierdo, Remedios Varo, Meret Oppenheim – she makes use of “enigmatic” and “paranormal” symbols, as they’re closest to her psychological and bodily expertise. His hybrid and magmatic figures, his beautiful corpses, are the materialization of life as he feels it, concrete and but extremely elusive, unstable, mercury. Objectively and subjectively appear to continuously change characters. They float. They flip. They take away one another.

Leonora Carrington

La Biennale Arte 2022 borrowed its title, The milk of desires, from a small ebook together with his “scary” drawings and lightning-fast tales. Carrington creates them in his dwelling in Mexico Metropolis – his chosen place for sixty years – for his younger youngsters. The partitions of the room the place he sketches them will likely be repainted and his “mutant” characters will disappear, however traces of them stay in a pocket book printed in 2017 (Italian translation by Livia Signorini, Adelphi 2018).

What do these minimal tales and illustrations inform that make the 2 youngsters tremble with concern? They inform of a world that stands between actual and imaginary, potential and potential. Above all, they clarify the horrible and on the similar time promising inconsistency within the standing of the residing: nothing is simply itself, nothing is secure, nothing belongs to the realm of granite and immutable being. The residing is powerful in its vulnerability, it may well solely exist in connection. A fragile complete and infinity, not self-sufficiency, that may hallucinate to its reverse solely via denial or delusion of omnipotence. Leonora Carrington, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman The yellow wallpaperis conscious that the partitions of a room can shut you want a grave, that the previous doesn’t disappear and that the long run can by no means come, that moms may be “cows” and fathers “geometric form” used to convey the precept of authority ( see L. Carrington, Debutants, trad. The. by Mariagrazia Gini and Nancy Marotta).

Cecilia Alemani, curator of the 59th version of the Venice Artwork Exhibition, which passed off after two years of a full-scale pandemic and at the very least forty years of futuristic analysis and never simply futuristic techno-scientific approaches, explains: “The exhibition The milk of desires he chooses Carrington’s unbelievable creatures, together with many different transformational figures, as companions on an imaginary journey via the metamorphosis of human our bodies and definitions ”.

How can we fail to notice that the place know-how, electronics and data know-how can use us as spare components, prosthesis us indefinitely, colonize our genome, but in addition to “combine” by nailing us to our digital artwork and marrying into our emoln, the physique is now not min / din / hans, feminine, male, homosexual, straight, binary, trans, cis, white, black, previous, younger, expert … The human physique, product of cells and atoms, is again to being unambiguous and at the beginning iridescent materials. The milk of desires rushes from there, in an uninterrupted self-extending quick circuit.

Leonora Carrington, Crookhey Hall, 1986
Leonora Carrington, Crookhey Corridor1986

“I by no means knew I used to be a surrealist”, writes Frida Kahlo, “till André Breton got here to Mexico to inform me. The one factor I do know is that I paint as a result of I want it and I all the time paint what goes via my head, with out considering of the rest ”.

IN Crookhey Corridor, a lithograph created by Carrington in 1986, a couple of many years after abandoning his father’s dwelling, we learn the identical want, to color nearly actually what goes via the top, penetrates the guts and manipulated the physique. Not even she tries to rationalize it, satisfied that cause deceives, that what one sees isn’t because it seems to be. Not solely as a result of actuality is advanced, various, illusory, however as a result of the viewer by no means takes the identical place and isn’t all the time the identical as himself. Because of this the orderly panorama surrounding the palace within the background is disturbed, which opens up for an oedipal escape.

In Carrington’s narrative area / time, in addition to in his biography, fairy tales can rediscover their founding means to face out from our bodies and rework concern into humor. A lot in order that in his newest novel, The acoustic cornet (trad. it. by Ginevra Bompiani, Adelphi 1974), a ninety-nine-year-old lady can say to us relentlessly: “Right here I have to specify that none of my senses has been affected within the least by age. Sometime I’ll discover a strategy to go away and discover out why I stayed so lengthy […] Let nobody assume that my thoughts is wandering far-off; vaguely, however now not than I wish to ”.

Deafness as a useful resource. Seniority as a humorous weapon.

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